Senate Committee listens to issues about liquor privatization

It has been a little over a month since the House passed Governor Tom Corbett’s Bill to sell off the state’s liquor system. It’s now in the hands of the Senate, where people are far from sold. “I am not for unlimited access, unlimited new licenses, devaluing existing licenses and providing youth alcohol at every corner is not something I think Pennsylvanians want. New packages and more convenient locations, yeah I think that is something we can try to achieve,” said Senator Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr. Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Senator McIlhinney is hoping they can gather information from three public hearings on how to revise the bill to pass the senate. “The house has been fumbling through it for two years. They finally got something to us and today is our turn to take a look at it and go through all of these issues,” he said.

At the first hearing held on Tuesday the Senate Committee listened to testimony on the impacts privatization could have on the community. Speakers included people from law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and drug and alcohol service providers.

Joe Kovel, the president of the Pennsylvania Troopers Association said with this bill, responsibilities will fall on police. Law enforcement officials are asking for extra money to be directed to them in a revised bill. “You have to fund us. We cannot afford another unfunded mandate and the way this is presented that is exactly what it is,” said Kovel.

Drug and alcohol agencies weighed in strongly against the plan. “Alcohol is public enemy number one. Alcohol is not the same as bread. We should not be normalizing it. Anybody who thinks alcohol is bread needs to spend a day with me in detox you cannot imagine the human suffering from people of every walk of life,” said Deb Beck, President of Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of PA. “If you increase access, you increase consumption and alcohol-related problems. It should be an inconvenience to those looking for a quick fix. We can’t handle what we got why would you make this worse?”

The next hearing is tentatively scheduled for May 15,2013.  “We’re going to hear from the retailers, people who want to sell it. We’re going to hear from the wholesalers who say they can get better prices in to us,” McIlhinney said.

A third hearing will be held in the beginning of June and McIlhinney hopes to put together a revised plan by the middle of June. “Whether it gets the votes, it passes and signed by the governor I can’t predict that, but I can predict that I will put up a proposal and put it to a vote; a privatization plan.”

6 comments

  • MyTakeOnIt

    Let me share what happened last night at my Giant Food store last night. The store sells alcohol. It is to be purchased inside the designated area. A man came up to the self-checkout with food and a six-pack which would not scan.The clerk was busy with me so did not see the man waiting to get her attention because it would not scan. He apparently exited the area and came to the self-checkout undetected. He left the area with the beer after paying for the food. Whether he simply left the store with the beer or went back to the beer area to pay, I don't know.

    Lesson: The general availability of alcohol at a non-specialty store allows for "mistakes" and lax rules that are not tolerable at spirit stores, distributors or bars. Had he gone to a bar for his 6-pack, there would be no questions. No mistakes.

    Lesson: Cigarettes are obtained by teens all the time through their convenience store jobs and friends who work at stores that sell cigarettes. Gonna happen with alcohol too. Stealing booze and butts from parents is a different thing and a parenting problem.

  • Ted

    I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN BUT TOM CORBIT AND OUR GOVERNMENT WOULD PASS LIQUOR LAWS THAT'S NONE TO KILL PEOPLE'S LIVER AND OTHER THING BUT YET HE IS AGANST PASSING AND LEGALIZING MARIJUANA SOMETHING THAT WOULD GET US OUT OF DET BUT YET HE STILL WANT AND WORRIES ABOUT THE LIQUOR LAWS REMEMBER OUR GOVERNMENT IS CORRUPT ANY WAY REMEMBER THAT TOM CORBIT WAS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY THAT LET SANDUSKY GET AWAY WITH HURTING ALL OF THOSE KIDS HE'S JUST AS GUILTY HE IS THE ONE WHO SAID LETS WAIT TO BUST HIM NOW AND BUILD A BIGGER CASE SO ALL OF THOSE KIDS THAT WERE HURT SHOULD BE ON HIS HANDS TO WHY CAN'T THE PARENTS BRING UP CHARGES ON HIM HE IS JUST AS GUILTY IAM JUST SAYING PEOPLE OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS LOOK AND LISTEN MORE TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY

    • MyTakeOnIt

      Legalizing marijuana does not get PA out of debt. Where in the world did you get that idea? PA is not in debt. The USA is.

      Alcohol is bad in excess. Pot is bad all around. It causes people to misspell words and type funny. Jokes aside, both alcohol and pot f you up and endanger those around you after you use them. One is legal to use and the other is not. So, we either go one way or the other with the both of them.

    • Al P

      Your argument is spurious on the face of it. Neither Corbett not Sandusky have anything at all to do with this issue. After all you say, you still can't spell the Governor's name correctly.

    • Hue Jass

      Ted, your answer and reasoning is ridonkulous. And your abuse of CAPS, neglect of punctuation, and lack of realization, demerits your thoughts.

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