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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 1, 2022 03:43 PM
From: Representative MaryLouise Isaacson
To: All House members
Subject: Clarifying Previously Licensed Locations in the Liquor Code
In Pennsylvania, when a liquor license is to be transferred to a new location, inhabitants within 500 feet of the new location are meant to have the right to protest the license transfer, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is required to take all proper protests into account when deciding the fate of the transfer. Additionally, the PLCB itself is provided the authority to deny a liquor license transfer if the new location is within 300 feet of a church, hospital, charitable institution, school, or public playground or within 200 feet of another premise licensed by the board. However, because of case law and the ambiguity of the term “new location” in statute, certain previously licensed locations are exempted from both considerations. This is because these previously licensed locations are not considered “new” locations even though they are not currently licensed by the PLCB. If a previously licensed location is not used for any non-license related purposes, the PLCB will consider the location previously licensed forever, leaving the surrounding inhabitants with little to no recourse if a license transfer involving such a location occurs.
In order to remedy this oversight, I plan to introduce legislation which would define a previously unlicensed location as any location which was never licensed or any location which was previously licensed and was subsequently not used for any non-license purposes for a period of three or more years. This commonsense change would be applied to all statutes concerning the transfer of retail liquor licenses, importing distributor licenses, and distributor licenses. As a result of this legislation, a location could only be considered previously licensed for a period of three years, at most, or until the location is used for any non-license related purpose. At either point, the location in question would revert to being considered “previously unlicensed” by the PLCB and would be subject to all proximity requirements.
Please join me in remedying this oversight and providing our residents with more power to control the location of businesses holding liquor licenses.

Introduced as HB2490