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'Liquor wall,' Barahona bills go to Scott

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposal to remove a Depression-era "wall" separating the sale of liquor and groceries and a proposal to pay $3.75 million in the settlement of a notorious child-welfare case were among 17 bills sent Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott.

The heavily lobbied “liquor wall” measure (SB 106) would repeal a 1934 law that requires liquor stores to be stand-alone facilities. Retailers such as Walmart and Target have pushed for the repeal, which would allow them to sell hard liquor in their stores.

The measure has been opposed in recent years by Publix and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Owners of small liquor stores have called on Scott to veto the proposal.

Meanwhile, Scott also will consider a “claim” bill (SB 18) that calls for making a $3.75 million payment in the 2011 death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona and injuries suffered by her brother, Victor.

In supporting the bill, lawmakers said the Department of Children and Families did not pay attention to "red flags" before the death of Nubia Barahona. Her decomposing body was found in February 2011 in the bed of her father's pickup truck on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County. Victor Barahona was convulsing in the truck, as both children had been doused with toxic chemicals, authorities said.

Among the other bills landing on Scott's desk are a measure aimed at preventing illegal possession of shark fins (SB 884) and a proposal to expand a registration-fee discount for boaters who own certain locator beacons (HB 711). Scott has until May 24 to sign, veto or allow the bills to become law without his signature.