General Assembly passes House Bill 466 to separate state from alcohol sales

In a successful move to update Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor and wine sales system, both houses of the General Assembly passed House Bill 466 yesterday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, effectively divesting the state of its monopoly on the business.
In a successful move to update Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor and wine sales system, both houses of the General Assembly passed House Bill 466 yesterday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, effectively divesting the state of its monopoly on the business.
In a successful move to update Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor and wine sales system, both houses of the General Assembly passed House Bill 466 yesterday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, effectively divesting the state of its monopoly on the business.

Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), who introduced the bill, expressed satisfaction with the resulting ability for the state government to focus on law enforcement rather than marketing. The law will upgrade convenience and selection for consumers.

“By selling the state stores, the state’s Liquor Control Board would be able to focus on enforcement, compliance and education, rather than alcohol sales,” Toepel said. “Currently, the LCB also encourages the sale and consumption of alcohol. When the government no longer sells liquor, Pennsylvania will not be plagued with the conflict of interest that has been a struggle for so long.”

By amending the decades-old extant liquor code, HB 466 will ensure that licensees currently holding a restaurant or hotel license can obtain permits; provide for gradual closing of state liquor stores; generate revenue for the state via licensing and permit fees; and allot six months for beer distributors to obtain wine and liquor permits, after which any remaining available permits will be offered to the public.

Permits are appropriated based on the current number of licensed distributors per county.

Citing “border bleed," Toepel commended the measure for helping to recapture approximately $313 million in revenue currently lost annually when Pennsylvanians travel outside the state to buy liquor.

HB 466 now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.