Lawmakers squabble over whether to allow liquor sales at gas stations
TALLAHASSEE — Should Florida allow Wawa, 7-Eleven or the neighborhood Joe’s Garage, where customers can now buy a six-pack and fill up the car, to also stock fifths of vodka, tequila and rum?
The prolonged legislative battle over repealing a Depression-era law known as the “liquor wall,” which prohibits mixing liquor with groceries in one-stop shopping experiences, has moved from a fight among giant retailers to lawmakers arguing over spirits at gas stations.
The House has delayed a vote on the proposed repeal (HB 81) because of a provision in the Senate version of the bill (SB 106) that sets a 10,000-square-foot-and-above size requirement on gas stations that can receive liquor licenses.
House sponsor Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, said he hasn’t been lobbied by chain gas stations. But he is hearing from House and Senate members who have different opinions about whether the proposed size limit is too large or too small.