As Legislature debates repealing an 80-year old prohibition era liquor law, updated law enforcement statistics prove that lowering the wall won’t lead to an increase in underage access to alcohol.
According to data from DBPR since 2012, large retailers and grocers have never been cited in any violation of Florida’s ban on alcohol sales to minors. By contrast, independent liquor stores, convenience stores and gas stations were cited 191 times.
One reason for the glaring disparity in citations is the fact that big-box retailer and larger grocery chains have on-site security and loss prevention staff actively monitoring the premises. As The Capitolist reported in January:
One reason for the higher success rate at big box retailers may be due to the fact that the larger stores have more people on duty at any one time. That’s not the case in many liquor stores, where often a single clerk is responsible for running the cash register, helping customers find what they are looking for, and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
The Coalition for Fair Business Practices, which supports the repeal, is urging the Florida House members to vote “Yes” on Senate Bill 106, which would repeal the law.
Conservative and free-market advocates say the law has outlived its usefulness.
“The outdated ‘alcohol wall’ is the prime example of a costly, burdensome regulation which fails to demonstrate any benefit to public health and safety,” said Skylar Zander, Deputy State Director, Americans for Prosperity. “It’s time to empower consumer choices and advance entrepreneurship, and we urge the Florida House to pass this bill.”
The bill is up for a vote in the Florida House today.