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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 16, 2019 03:00 PM
From: Representative Jesse Topper
To: All House members
Subject: Dry Muncipality Referendum
As many of you know, in a previous session the General Assembly passed House Bill 1690 (Act 39), which altered and modernized our archaic liquor laws throughout Pennsylvania. One of the provisions of that legislation was to allow exemptions in local communities to authorize specific licenses in what are known as dry townships.

After seeing an increase of establishments operating in dry municipalities through a loophole in the three-tier system, I plan on introducing legislation that would create a ballot initiative for such municipalities to explicitly opt-in or opt-out of allowing on premise sales for manufacturers. Many of our townships and boroughs, around 25 percent to be exact, have chosen to ban the sale of alcohol in one form or another.

My legislation would create a referendum which would allow voters to choose whether they want to see their communities home to many of these brewpubs, who in many cases operate within a gray area of the law. The referendum would be flexible and allow for the municipality to stay completely dry, allow limited sales or convert to wet.

This legislation would not be penal in nature, nor would retroactively close any establishment that has already began operation in such a case. It would simply address a problem moving forward by mandating that our local municipalities have a choice in the matter.

Thank you in advance for consideration of my legislation.

Introduced as HB423