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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Initiative Privatizing Wine and Spirits Sales Passes House

Initiative Privatizing Wine and Spirits Sales Passes House

HARRISBURG – In a historic vote, the House has passed legislation to privatize alcohol sales in Pennsylvania, getting the Commonwealth OUT of the business of selling wine and spirits, House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) said upon passage of House Bill 790 by a vote of 105-90.

“It’s a historic day. The Pennsylvania state House just sent the message that it’s time to put an end to the dinosaur of bureaucracy that is the Pennsylvania state store,” Turzai said. “House Bill 790 would responsibly privatize wholesale and retail sales of wine and spirits in a consumer-friendly way without taking revenues away from the state budget.”

In a media availability with Gov. Tom Corbett and other supporters after the vote, Turzai noted Pennsylvania has a complicated and tiered system in place to sell alcohol to consumers. There is the beer distributor network, which is losing more and more market-share, or customers, as supermarkets open up beer-selling cafes, and then there is the state store system of selling wine and spirits.

House Bill 790 would allow beer, wine and liquor to be sold in one licensed location, giving consumers the choice and convenience they strive for according to almost every statewide and local poll taken.

Giving local beer distributors the first chance to purchase licenses allowing them to sell beer, wine and liquor, the legislation would phase out 600 state stores, allow wine sales in grocery stores and bring about beer package reform.

Turzai said the legislation was drafted with Pennsylvania’s conservative views on alcohol in mind. The bill:

Retains tight regulatory control.
Strengthens law enforcement.
Clamps down on underage drinking
Promotes education.
Respects current employees.

Pennsylvania remains one of only two states in the nation (the other being Utah) with full government control over wine and liquor sales. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board controls promotion and sales of wine and spirits, as well as the regulation and enforcement of Pennsylvania liquor laws. Thirty states have never been involved in the sale of alcohol.

For more information on House Bill 790 and privatizing wine and spirit sales, please visit www.RepTurzai.com.

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