Liquor Reform Bills Head to Senate, Turzai Says
Four-bill package will allow more consumer convenience and choices, remove government from interference with business, pricing
HARRISBURG – House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) has positioned four historic liquor reform bills that will add consumer convenience and further remove Pennsylvania state government from the business of selling wine and liquor.
House Bill 975 will “free the wine” in Pennsylvania, by allowing all grocery stores — not just those with seating capacity — the opportunity to obtain a permit to sell wine. The bill, sponsored by Turzai, also permits retailers to buy their wine from private sector wholesalers, brokers and makers of wine, not from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.It also eliminates the artificial floor pricing requirements which increase costs to consumers.
House Bill 991, sponsored by Rep. Adam Harris (R-Franklin/Juniata/ Mifflin), would create and make available wine and spirit retail store licenses. This measure would let private entrepreneurs sell wine and liquor through a new class of state-awarded retail licenses designed to boost customer convenience and choices.
House Bill 438, sponsored by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Somerset/Westmoreland), would permit businesses with “restaurant” or “hotel” licenses already selling up to four bottles of wine to go to also be permitted to do the same with spirits.
House Bill 1075, sponsored by Turzai, will provide for the divestiture of the wholesale system for both wine and spirits. Similar legislation has passed the House in the past two legislative sessions.
“Pennsylvania should be out of the business of selling wine and spirits,” Turzai said. “Our willingness to move Act 39 was a vote of faith that, once everyone saw the benefits of grocery store wine sales and direct shipment firsthand, the governor and others would be ready to finish the journey to privatization. These bills passed today move Pennsylvania further into the 21st century, providing customer convenience, better product selection and competitive pricing.”
Act 39 of 2016, the law that ended more than 80 years of total government control by allowing some grocery stores to sell wine as well as direct shipment to consumers, has proven to be very popular, responsible and much more convenient for consumers.
Before Act 39, Pennsylvania was one of only two states, Utah the other, where government controlled every aspect of wine and spirits sales.