Historic Liquor Privatization Legislation Passage Moves Pennsylvania into the 21st Century, Says Everett

HARRISBURG – Following a lengthy debate and work to form a compromise plan, the House passed legislation that would finally move the sales of wine and liquor to the private sector in a deliberate, gradual process, Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) said today.

“I want to commend the passage of House Bill 790, which involved a great deal of work and compromise on the part of many lawmakers and stakeholders, and now we have the opportunity to bring choice and freedom to consumers,” said Everett. “I have received numerous requests from constituents to get this legislation passed. Residents have been demanding the state get out of the business of selling alcohol, and now, we are on the doorstep of getting this done.”

House Bill 790, which had an amendment added by Everett, passed following hours of debate. Everett said the bill would make available 1,200 licenses to sell wine and spirits, with beer distributors given the first opportunity to obtain a license.  After the first year, the remaining licenses would be sold to the public. Grocery store wine licenses and wine-to-go permits are also created under the bill.

Package reforms in the bill allow consumers to purchase growlers, six-packs or 12-packs at distributorships. Under current law, only full cases may be purchased from distributors.

“There was no way that we could ignore reforming the beer sales area,” said Everett. “I am pleased with what we were able to achieve, even though everyone did not get everything they wanted.”

Everett said House Bill 790 phases out the current state-controlled wine and spirits stores gradually, as the number of privately operated outlets grows.

The bill also would allow the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to focus solely on law enforcement, compliance and education, rather than on retail sales. It requires training for retailers and age compliance checks to ensure alcohol is kept out of the hands of minors.

House Bill 790 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Garth D. Everett
84th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Raymond Smith