Speaker Turzai Readies House to ‘Free the Wine’
HARRISBURG - House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) will once again lead the way in bringing consumer convenience and further removing Pennsylvania state government from the business of selling wine.
House Bill 975 will “free the wine” in Pennsylvania, by allowing all grocery stores — not just those with seating capacity — the opportunity to obtain a permit to sell wine. The bill was voted out of the House Liquor Control Committee Tuesday morning by vote of 15-12.
The measure is a continuance of Act 39 of 2016, the law that ended more than 80 years of total government control by allowing some permitted grocery stores to sell wine and for direct shipment to consumers.
“Pennsylvania should be out of the business of selling wine and spirits,” said Turzai. “It’s clear, after Act 39, that wine sales can be responsibly managed by grocery stores across the Commonwealth.”
Before Act 39, Pennsylvania was one of only two states, Utah the other, where government controlled every aspect of wine and spirits sales. The law has been proven to be wildly popular with consumers as they have found greater convenience and choices with the measure.
“My willingness to move Act 39 was a vote of faith that, once everyone saw the benefits of grocery store wine sales and direct shipment firsthand, the governor and others would be ready to finish the journey to full privatization,” said Turzai. “Despite consumers demanding more freedom, Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will still veto full privatization, so we are willing to offer House Bill 975 as another compromise.”
The bill also permits retailers to buy their wine from private sector wholesalers, brokers and makers of wine, not from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and eliminates the artificial inflation of costs that dampen competition.
The House Liquor Control Committee also voted out House Bill 1075 today by a vote of 15-12. This legislation would provide for the divestiture of the wholesale system for both wine and spirits. Similar legislation has passed the House in the past two legislative sessions.
Both bills now go to the full House for consideration.
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives