It could soon be a little less complicated to buy alcohol in Pennsylvania.
On April 25, the state House of Representatives passed these bills that would make significant changes alcohol sales in the commonwealth:
House Bill 991, Allow private retailers to sell liquor: Passed 107 to 83 in the House
To permit private retailers, rather than the state government, to sell liquor. One retail license will be allocated per every 6,000 residents per county, with a minimum of 15 per county. Under this bill, retail stores would be allowed to operate from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day except Sunday. A special Sunday sale permit could be purchased for $5,000.
House Bill 975, Allow private wholesale wine sales: Passed 107 to 84 in the House
To allow private companies to sell wholesale wine instead of requiring that wholesale wine sales must be done by the state.
House Bill 438, Allow restaurants to sell liquor to go: Passed 102 to 90 in the House
To allow restaurants and hotels to purchase a permit for $2,000 that would allow them to sell up to four bottles of liquor to a customer for consumption off-premises.
House Bill 1075, End state’s wholesale liquor sales: Passed 105 to 84 in the House
To end the system where the commonwealth sells liquor wholesale. State-run wholesale liquor sales would be phased out over 10 years under this legislation.
These bills build on legislation last year that eased some state restrictions on how restaurants and other retailers sell beer and wine. The biggest change under this year’s bills is ending the state monopoly on hard alcohol sales. Currently, if you want a bottle of vodka, you must buy it from the government. If HB 991 passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, the government would be getting out of the alcohol business.
Do you support these bills? Should the sale of alcohol be something done by the private market, not the government? Or should there be tighter government control on the sale of intoxicating beverages?