It appears that Gov. Rick Scott could go right down to the wire in deciding the fate of a highly debated bill that could change the way liquor is sold in Florida.
The so-called “liquor wall” bill would repeal current law that requires the sale of liquor in separate facilities. Big box stores like Walmart and Target are in favor of the repeal, while Publix and liquor store chains oppose it.
The governor has until Wednesday to decide whether to sign the bill into law, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on that bill,” Scott said Tuesday.
And he is still receiving feedback.
Scott spoke by phone Tuesday afternoon with Walmart representatives, who support the legislation, and met with officials from ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, who oppose the bill.
Scott admits the issue touches close to home.
“I’ve had family members who have had the challenge of alcoholism,” the governor said. “It concerns me. As I review the bill–I think I have to be finished sometime tomorrow on it–I take all those things into consideration.”
The legislation resulted in intense lobbying from both sides.
Those who oppose the legislation say changing the law would make it easier for minors to buy liquor. They argue it would also hurt small liquor stores.
Supporters say they are merely promoting a free marketplace. They say repealing the current law would even the playing field among retailers and bring Florida law inline with most other states when it comes to liquor sales.
The “liquor wall” legislation barely passed the Legislature. It passed by four votes in the Senate and by one vote in the House.
The decision now rests with the governor and the clock is ticking. Scott hasn’t given any indication which way he is leaning on the legislation.