TALLAHASSEE — The Senate Wednesday passed a bill that would allow All Aboard Florida to serve alcohol at its train stations.
SB 698 changes different alcohol and tobacco regulations and would allow wine, beer and alcohol to be sold at rail stations, including restaurants, "entertainment, or recreational facilities" within the premises.
The Senate passed the bill with a 38-0 vote. Senate President-elect Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said he voted for the bill by mistake and asked the Senate clerk to change his vote, but that wasn't reflected in the bill's vote tally Wednesday evening. The bill now heads to the House.
Negron opposes All Aboard's Brightline trains as do many of his constituents in all three Treasure Coast counties and northern Palm Beach. They are concerned about road closures and impacts on their lifestyle. He's vowed to oppose the rail project as well in the Legislature.
Sen. Thad Altman, a Rockledge Republican who represents Indian River County, voted for SB 698.
Florida currently allows beer, wine and liquor to be sold to rail passengers for consumption on the cars, and liquor may only be sold in miniature bottles of no more than 2 ounces.
The bill would expand that to the stations and liquor would not have to be sold in miniature bottles. The license issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation would not be subject to the restrictions, limiting the number of such licenses that may be issued per county. The bill also prohibits local governments from requiring additional licenses or levying an extra tax.