New PA Liquor Law

Michaela Shaw ’16, Contributing Writer

A new bill proposing the privatization of the liquor industry in Pennsylvania has been reintroduced.

According to Pennsylvania Independent, the bill, now called HB-790, would dismantle the network of state-owned liquor stores, allowing residents of Pennsylvania to buy alcohol in grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and bigger retail stores such as Wal-Mart.

“[The bill] will provide consumers in Pennsylvania with greater selection, better prices, and more convenient access to wine, spirits and beer,” said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).

Licenses for pre-existing retail stores to sell alcohol will cost $10,000 – $35,000 annually. In addition, private liquor stores can be created with a license. The state government will distribute these licenses so that the number of private stores in a county will equal the number of state stores previously existing in that county.

According to The Sentinel, HB-790 was first proposed a comprehensive bill in the summer of 2011. The bill is currently under vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. It was originally scheduled to be voted on Monday, March 4, according to Upper Southampton Patch. There is substantial opposition to this bill, primarily from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. This union protects the majority of workers employed at state-owned liquor stores, which are the stores that would no longer exist if this bill passes.