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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 5, 2019 11:42 AM
From: Senator Steven J. Santarsiero
To: All Senate members
Subject: Allowing Liquor Sales at Restaurants in 2A Counties
Today, Lower Makefield Township is the only municipality in Pennsylvania’s 2A counties (Bucks and Montgomery) that bans alcohol sales. Currently, state stores operate and sell bottled liquor inside two of the township’s grocery stores. But if you want to have a glass of wine with your meal at one of the township’s restaurants, you have to bring your own.

Under state law, a referendum is required for municipalities to go from dry to wet (or vice versa). Before the referendum can be put on the ballot, however, a petition containing the number of signatures equal to at least 25 percent of the highest vote cast for any office in that municipality in the preceding general election must be filed with the local board of elections.

If Lower Makefield Township were to hold a referendum in the next election, which is the May 2019 primary for local offices, such a petition would need 2,930 signatures. This places an undue burden on Lower Makefield’s citizens who are only given a three-week period to collect this large number of signatures. Therefore, I plan to introduce legislation to require a flat 500 signatures for a ballot referendum for a municipality to change from dry to wet (or vice versa). This change would be limited to 2A counties.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to lift the burden on our citizens and allow our township and businesses to benefit economically.

Introduced as SB719