The only thing that is constant is change. While the Liquor Code is PA doesn’t change as rapidly as many would hope, there are some interesting bills in our State Legislature on the horizon. Today’s blog will detail some of the proposed changes and how they could impact the use of your liquor license. These bills are not guaranteed to become law, but they give every licensee an opportunity to influence the change that they want to see.
Want to express your opinions of these bills? Stay tuned until the end where we will provide resources to help you get your voice heard!
Senate Bill 129: Spirit Expanded Permit
This one could be a game changer! Proposed Senate Bill 129 introduces a new permit for Restaurant or Hotel liquor licensees, the Spirt Expanded Permit. As proposed, this permit would allow for the sale of spirits to go (yes, sealed bottles!) up to 3 liters per transaction. The permit would function very similarly to the existing Wine Expanded Permit and would require RAMP Certification for the premise and transactional scan devices to be used. The proposed cost for the permit would initially be $2,000 and would be renewed at 2% of the cost of spirits purchased from the board for off-premise consumption. This bill was introduced on January 19, 2023, and has been referred to the Law and Justice Committee.
Senate Bill 131: Wine Delivery
Are you delivering beer via a Transporter-for-Hire license? Senate Bill 131 introduces changes that could make the delivery of wine permissible under certain guidelines. Currently, Wine Expanded Permit holders are required to use a transactional scan device to verify the age of any individual who appears to be under the age of 35 at the point of sale. The proposed bill would allow for the transactional scan device to also be used at the point of delivery of wine. If this bill were to be enacted as proposed, theoretically, a licensee would be required to hold a Wine Expanded Permit and a Transporter for Hire Class A license to make wine deliveries. Remember, Transporter for Hire Class B license holders are only permitted to transport malt or brewed beverages.
While this proposal isn’t the most straightforward, it could supply additional permissions to licensees that comply with the necessary steps. The bill was introduced on January 19, 2023, and has been referred to the Law and Justice Committee.
House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda: Permanent Changes to Off Premise Catering Permit
Act 81 of 2021 provided some licensee specific perks to help overcome the hardships caused by COVID-19. These House Co-Sponsored Memoranda aims to make some of those perks permanent. This proposal would allow licensees that hold Off-Premise Catering Permits to hold unlimited events each licensed year. Currently, Act 81 of 2021 provides this permission until the end of 2024. These Memoranda would make that change permanent. The Memoranda were issued on February 1, 2023, and ask for additional legislators to join as a sponsor.
House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda: Increasing the Licensee Discount
These House Co-Sponsored Memoranda aim to aid bars and restaurants through their continued, “struggle with the aftereffects of COVID-19,” by increasing the licensee discount on purchase from the PLCB from the current 10% to 15%. The Memoranda were issued on December 20, 2022, and ask for additional legislators to join as a sponsor.
Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda: Ready-to-drink (RTD) Expansion
These Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda seek to make Ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails more accessible to consumers in PA. As proposed, they would give permission for manufacturers to distribute RTD productions through the PLCB or existing three-tier system. They would allow for RTD products to be sold at restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and by beer distributors. The Memoranda were issued on February 17, 2023, and ask for additional legislators to join as a sponsor.
Speak Loud, Speak Proud!
As Americans and Pennsylvanians, we have a responsibility to voice our opinions to make positive change! Speak loud, speak proud, and engage with our governmental systems. It is not always obvious where to start, so here are a few ways to express yourself:
Find Your PA Legislators: Legislators are elected to serve the populace that elected them and you can reach many of their offices relatively easily to express your opinions. Tell them how any Bills you support would positively benefit your business and the community.
PRLA: The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association “has grown into one of the largest state hospitality and tourism associations in the nation.” The PRLA not only works to advocate for the hospitality industry but also provides countless resources to its members: daily newsletters, ServeSafe classes, vendor directories, and that is just the start.
Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association: The Pennsylvania License Beverage & Tavern Association is another long standing industry advocacy group representing liquor licensees. They help represent the “political voice of small business taverns, bars, and license restaurants across the state.” They, too, provide many resources to their members in the hospitality industry.
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