Legislative Battles

Florida Businesses Unite: 2017 “Whiskey & Wheaties” Legislative Fight

After watching the “Whiskey & Wheaties” bill narrowly pass the Florida Senate and House, more than 900 independent retailers that employ thousands of Floridians were on the edge of their seats waiting until the final hours of the Governor’s veto period to see whether their small businesses and their employees’ lives would be forever changed. But just hours until midnight on “V-Day,” Governor Rick Scott vetoed Senate Bill 106, relating to Vendors Licensed Under the Beverage Law.

Acting on behalf of a host of small independent and established liquor store chains across the state and other coalition members, including ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and a Florida-based grocery store under the banner of Florida Businesses Unite, once again teamed up with faith-based and law enforcement groups, to battle back legislation that would have allowed for the sale of hard liquor not only inside stores in the same area that groceries and other goods are sold, but also in convenience stores.

During the 2017 Legislative Session, Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC (BCC) led the Florida Businesses Unite effort, engaging in an aggressive earned, paid and social media campaign that allowed members of the coalition from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle to speak out on how this legislation would have severely hurt their Florida-based companies and employees, as well as increase access for minors. Further, hundreds of Florida small business owners and their employees frequently visited the Capitol to deliver their message to lawmakers and the Governor that the provisions outlined in SB 106, combined with the no-compete clauses in many business leases, would cripple Florida-based businesses to the benefit out-of-state retailers looking to change the existing business model to increase their bottom lines.

Determined to save Florida small retailers and Florida jobs that help our local economies, more than 1,000 letters and more than 3,000 petitions from Floridians across the Sunshine State were delivered to Governor Scott in favor of a veto. In the end, hundreds of Florida small businesses and thousands of Florida jobs were saved, along with safeguards for minors remaining in place.