Feb. 26, 2015

House Bill 466 now before Senate

HARRISBURG – Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) today voted in favor of historic legislation that would privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania, which passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 114 to 87. Schemel is a co-sponsor of House Bill 466, which now heads to the Senate for consideration. Similar legislation was approved by the House during the 2013-14 session but the Senate failed to take action.

“Government has many responsibilities, from paving our roads to ensuring the education of our children. Retail sale of liquor should not be among the core functions of government,” said Schemel. “Today we took the first step toward freeing our Commonwealth from this backward practice, and I look forward to the Senate following suit and getting Pennsylvania out of the business of selling alcohol.”

To view Schemel’s video comments, click here.

Among other things, House Bill 466 would create 1,200 wine and spirits licenses, generating up to $1.1 billion in up-front revenue. As many as 600 more licenses would possibly be issued after all the state stores close. Beer distributors would be given the first opportunity to obtain a license, allowing them to become the only one-stop shops for beer, wine and spirits. Grocery stores would be licensed to sell wine only, with a maximum of 12 bottles per transaction.

The measure also would assign state troopers to the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and, for the first time in state history, subject all wine and spirits retailers to age compliance checks.

In addition, liquor privatization would greatly reduce the amount of tax revenue that now goes to surrounding states, where wine and spirits prices are lower. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reports that “border bleed” results in the loss of sales and tax revenues totaling at least $313 million annually.

For more information on Schemel and his legislative priorities, visit RepSchemel.com or Facebook.com/RepSchemel.