Senate committee takes deep dive into Stop & Go crackdown possibilities

Senate committee takes deep dive into Stop & Go crackdown possibilities

Continuing what has been something of a budget-season sidelight, the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Tuesday held a hearing with members of the Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to examine the legislature’s options in terms of cracking down on so-called Stop & Go liquor establishments.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate sets charter reform bill, potential revenue placeholders for action

Senate sets charter reform bill, potential revenue placeholders for action

While there is no discernible budget and revenue deal as of yet, the Senate took several steps on Wednesday to move along potential revenue placeholder bills and advance a critical charter reform bill that could be extra-budget pieces to an overall fiscal plan.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate loads liquor component of budget framework

Senate loads liquor component of budget framework

The Senate Law and Justice Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to amend in to House Bill 1460 an amendment which would provide for liquor modernization and expanded wine and beer sales as part of the budget framework.

Speaking to the changes to the liquor system, Committee Majority Chairman Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) said the most controversial piece of the changes made allows R-license holders to sell four to-go bottles of wine in addition to two six packs.

Other changes in the bill increase the number of R-licenses by allowing “dead R-licenses” to be auctioned off according to certain restrictions, opens all state liquor stores for Sunday sales, and for 24-hour alcohol service in casinos.

The bill also provides for a study commission to look at if and how Pennsylvania should privatize either or both its wholesale or retail liquor markets with those recommendations to be made to the General Assembly by June 30th.

In total, Sen. McIlhinney anticipated the changes will bring in an additional $115 million in revenue above the $80 million in profits seen by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with that number tapered for this year since Pennsylvania is halfway through its current fiscal year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Liquor privatization bill forges ahead amid concerns over job losses

Liquor privatization bill forges ahead amid concerns over job losses

A compromise plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor stores forged ahead Sunday evening as House Bill 466 was amended and later passed by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

The measure now moves to the Senate Floor where it is anticipated to be passed, along with pension reform and the budget and other related bills, by the conclusion of legislative business Tuesday.

“We have an agreed-to product with the House, it certainly hasn’t been easy,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), who sponsored the amendment comprising the plan. “Clearly constituents in my district—a very rural area that may see less convenience—they want to see privatization, that’s what they’ve asked for because they feel the state should be out of this business.”

According to the proposal, state-owned retail wine and spirits stores will be closed based upon a formula where the Liquor Control Board will be instructed that if one of the two of the closest licensees to a state-owned store is actively selling alcohol in the manner of a state-owned wine and spirits store, then the state-owned store will be forced to shut down.

Sunday, June 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Liquor privatization precursor bill advanced by Senate committee

Liquor privatization precursor bill advanced by Senate committee

A bill some are saying is necessary to pass before a broader liquor privatization discussion moved through the Senate Law and Justice Committee Tuesday and now awaits action by the full chamber.

House Bill 189, introduced by Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie) would allow for the direct shipment of wine from wineries to Pennsylvania consumers. The bill passed the committee by a six to four party-line vote after being amended.

Sen. Charles McIlhinney (R-Bucks), chairman of the committee, said the bill is a necessary precursor to liquor privatization discussions.

“This issue is kind of sticking out as an issue that needs to be addressed before we can get to it,” he said in response to questions about broader liquor privatization discussions. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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