Ask any Florida legislator if their phone has been ringing off the hook from constituents who can't get enough vodka or rum, and they would have to say "no." Then why are they pushing hard liquor into our grocery stores without public input or backing?
It appears the driving force behind this change are corporate executives at big box stores who will profit greatly. They don't care about Florida families and are too cheap to spend money building a separate entrance. The current separate entrance policy allows for ID verification at the door along with cameras monitoring every corner, provides an avenue to prevent underage drinking, and protects our friends in recovery from making an impulse purchase. Does anyone want our children growing up with liquor as part of the food shopping experience?
Binge drinking or excessive alcohol use is responsible for 88,000 deaths in our nation, and Florida is ranked third in the nation for fatal DUI crashes. Only 16 other states allow this type of distribution. Thirty-four states do not allow hard liquor to be mixed with grocery items.
Other than creating a one-stop shopping experience that includes alcohol, I can't think of any reason for passing this bill. Our state doesn't need it and the public, the few who are aware of this proposed change, don't want it.
Teresa Miller, Tampa