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Kauffman Supports Passage of Historic Bill to End State Government’s Sale of Alcohol

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Cumberland/Franklin) today joined his colleagues in the state House in voting to privatize the sale of wine and liquor in the Commonwealth. 

“Selling alcohol is not a core function of government. I have never supported the idea of government promoting the sale of alcohol through its state’s stores, while also trying to enforce laws pertaining to alcohol consumption and abuse. These functions are mutually exclusive,” said Kauffman. “Government should be solely focused on enforcement and compliance in order to reduce incidents of drunk driving and underage drinking.” 

House Bill 790 was drafted to retain tight regulatory control on the industry, strengthen law enforcement, clamp down on underage drinking, promote alcohol education, and help current state store employees find new employment. 

Kauffman noted that the bill allows beer distributors to be the only facilities in the state where consumers can buy wine, spirits and beer in one place. No beer would be sold in grocery stores, except for those with restaurant licenses, and grocery stores would only be able to sell wine, not hard liquor, under the bill. In addition, beer distributors would be able to sell growlers, six-packs and 12-packs in any quantity. 

“I have always been a proponent of our small businesses, and House Bill 790 seeks to help these businesses through new licensing opportunities and by making the licenses they already hold more valuable if they should choose to sell,” said Kauffman. “Moving the business of selling alcohol into the private sector is the right thing to do; 48 other states have already moved to this system with favorable results. 

“Consumers have contacted me, in large numbers, asking for privatization. Under this legislation, they will benefit from having more convenient locations and hours in which to purchase alcohol,” continued Kauffman. “In addition, greater market competition will provide consumers with a better selection of products at better prices.” 

Kauffman stressed that under House Bill 790 there is no definitive time frame for closing state stores and that it would happen on a gradual basis. Once there are twice as many private retailers as there are state stores in a county, all state stores in that county would have to close.  

Current state store employees would have opportunities to receive grants for education, preferential treatment for other state jobs and more career opportunities through new businesses looking to hire good, knowledgeable workers. Tax credits would also be offered to businesses hiring displaced workers. 

House Bill 790 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Representative Rob Kauffman
89th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Tricia Lehman
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