A provision that would have exempted All Aboard Florida from state rules regulating the hours of sale of beer, wine and liquor at its Brightline train stations was removed Thursday from a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s alcoholic beverage laws.
Before sending the bill (SB 698) to the senate floor, The Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee on Thursday removed a provision that would have exempted railroad transit stations from state rules that prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages between midnight and 7 a.m.
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, who proposed the legislation, told the committee that the provision would have given operators of railroad transit stations an unfair advantage.
“As the bill has gone through the process it has come to our attention…that the bill without this amendment would give a competitive advantage to those licenses or those activities allowed at the railroad transit stations which certainly is not the intent,” Bradley told the committee Thursday. “We would intend those railroad transit stations to comply with all local ordinances and other restrictions that anyone else would be required to do.”
The bill creates a special alcoholic beverage license for railroad transit systems. The special category would not be subject to quota restrictions that limit the number of alcoholic beverage licenses in each county.
Among its other changes, the bill would streamline how theme parks and their resorts account for the large quantity of beer sold at their properties. Instead of tallying new deposits and credits every time a distributor drops off a load of kegs, theme parks would be allowed to reconcile payments on an annual basis.
The bill also would change the way cruise lines pay beverage and tobacco taxes. Under the proposal, taxes would be calculated based on a ship’s capacity rather than the volume of alcohol or tobacco sold at port.
The legislation would also allow the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to issue temporary alcoholic beverage permits to cities, towns and counties.