– House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is calling on the state Senate to advance additional alcohol privatization legislation in Pennsylvania.
“It’s time to finish what we started,” Turzai said. “With only a short time remaining before the end of this legislative session, the Senate has the ability to continue the historic progress we’ve made to give Pennsylvania consumers better choices in the way they purchase beer, wine and spirits.”
House Bill 975
, which passed the House of Representatives in April 2017, would “free the wine” in Pennsylvania, by allowing retailers to buy their wine from private sector wholesalers, brokers and makers of wine, not from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. It also would eliminate the artificial floor pricing requirements which increase costs to consumers.
Turzai has been the chief architect to remove Pennsylvania state government from the business of selling wine and liquor. It has been two years since Act 39 of 2016
became law, allowing wine and beer in both grocery and convenience stores. Since then, 781 liquor license holders have obtained the additional “wine to-go” license.
Turzai also noted, while sales in the state have grown by nearly 2 percent, wine sales in state stores have dropped. The growth has been driven by private sector employers which now account for almost 11 percent of the wine sold in Pennsylvania.
The speaker pointed out that expanded availability of wine has not led to an increase in alcohol-related vehicle crashes or driving while under the influence charges. In 2017, Pennsylvania State Police reported a decrease of 2,500 DUI charges from 2016, the first decrease in that number in at least a decade.
“Selling alcohol is not a core function of government and we should allow private sector entrepreneurs to build and create new job and career opportunities for all Pennsylvanians, not just a select few,” Turzai said. “Individual consumers, not government bureaucrats, should have the choice over what products they want to purchase and where. Since the passage of Act 39, we have taken great strides in lifting the shackles from the state system, but more must be done. The Senate has just enough time to advance House Bill 975, a pro-consumer bill, and give the people of the Commonwealth more choices. Let’s get it done!”
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Neal Lesher