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Gov. Rick Scott faces deadline on "Liquor Wall" decision

Posted at 3:55 PM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 13:53:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Opponents have mobilized to try to convince Governor Rick Scott to veto a bill that would repeal a decades-old law requiring hard spirits to be sold in separate facilities from groceries and other goods an issue that has become known as the "liquor wall."

Governor Scott, who faces a deadline on Wednesday, May 24, to decide whether to sign, veto or let the measure become law without his signature, hasn't said what he'll do with the proposal.

Members of the Florida Independent Spirits Association, along with Publix and ABC fine wine & spirits, oppose the bill.

They have stepped up the pro-veto movement since the house narrowly signed off of the measure.

The governor's office as of Friday, May 19 had received nearly 27 hundred emails, 570 letters and 235 calls in opposition to the bill since lawmakers gave approval. Another 32 hundred names were submitted via petitions collected at independent liquor stores, like the one owned by Mike Patel.

Mike Patel, owner of Market Liquors, says, "I'm hoping and I am praying every day that he will veto this. I don't think that he wants to lose all of these jobs and all the small businesses. Everybody will be bankrupt right away".

The governor's office during the same period had also received 434 phone calls, 320 emails and seven letters that voiced support for the bill.

Proponents feel the policy promotes a free market and provides more convenience to shoppers. They also dispute the argument about minors getting access to liquor, saying minors are more likely to get alcohol at home.