HARRISBURG – Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington) has introduced legislation that calls for a constitutional amendment to privatize Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor system. A hearing on the legislation was held Monday morning at the state Capitol building.
“I introduced this legislation because it is time to bring our liquor laws into the current century,” Mihalek said. “The pandemic proved that it was far past time to get government out of liquor sales. When the world stopped in March 2020, consumers were quite frustrated that the drinks they looked forward to after a hard day were being rationed.”
This legislation is introduced as a constitutional amendment so that consumers may have a say in how liquor is sold in Pennsylvania. In 2016, the General Assembly passed historic legislation to privatize the sale of wine and spirits, but ultimately, it was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. If a constitutional amendment is passed by the General Assembly, the question on whether liquor should be privatized can then be voted upon by the people it would affect the most – consumers.
“The hearing today only confirmed that this legislation is the right move for the Commonwealth,” Mihalek continued. “While we heard testimony from groups for and against this legislation, the majority agreed that our state should join the 48 other states that do not allow a government monopoly on the sale of liquor.”
During the hearing, testimony was taken from United Food and Commercial Workers 1776 President Wendell Young; Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Chairman Tim Holden, and board members Mike Negra and Mary Isenhour; Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President and Head of State Public Policy Dave Wojnar; American Distilled Spirits Alliance CEO, Matt Dogali; Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association President and CEO Alex Baloga; Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association Director of Government Affairs Zak Pyzik; and Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr.
>> View part 1 of the Hearing
>> View part 2 of the Hearing
“I want to thank everyone who took time out of their day to discuss this important issue,” Mihalek concluded. “I look forward to moving this legislation forward and allowing voters to partake in the process.”
In order to implement the proposed constitutional amendment, it will need to be passed in identical form in two consecutive legislative sessions. It would then be placed on the ballot for voters to have the final say.
Representative Natalie Mihalek
40th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michelle Swab