HARRISBURG – As a former small business owner, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) knows that the private sector does a better job in selling products, and that’s why she voted in favor of legislation today to remove state control from the sales of alcohol in Pennsylvania.
“When I operated my restaurant in Wysox, I saw firsthand how the state-owned alcohol system created another complicated bureaucracy and how that ties the hands of the private sector,” said Pickett. “Selling alcohol is not a core function of government, especially by the same agency that regulates it. This is a conflict of interest whose time has come to an end, and I was pleased to support legislation to eliminate it.”
House Bill 466 is nearly identical to legislation Pickett supported in 2013 to break up the state’s liquor store system by removing both the wholesale and retail sales from Commonwealth control. The legislation seeks to relinquish state control by offering licenses to those already in the alcohol sales business – which would then be able to offer beer, wine and spirits – and then to private owners.
Under the measure, beer distributors would also be able to sell smaller quantities of beer, including growlers, six-packs and 12-pack containers. Distributors not wishing to sell the additional products would benefit from an overall increase in value of their licenses.
The legislation also would retain tight regulatory control to prevent alcohol from getting into the hands of minors; strengthen law enforcement; promote alcohol education efforts; and assist current employees of the system.
Pickett also noted that Pennsylvania wines, like the ones produced along the Northern Tier, have a difficult time getting on local shelves. In a private market, products in local stores will be driven by what consumers want, not what the government tells them they should stock.
“Over the past few years when this issue has again been at the forefront, I have heard from a number of residents who support a private-sector approach for many reasons, but I also respect the concerns of others worried about the increased access,” Pickett said. “I believe this legislation represents a good compromise that strikes the right balance between allowing the private sector to sell this product and tight regulation.”
The legislation now moves to the state Senate for its consideration.
More information, including details about license costs and availability, is available online at www.PAHouseGOP.com.
Representative Tina Pickett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett