Bill to address 'stop and go' alcohol nuisance issue advances to full House

HARRISBURG, June 13 – A bill introduced by three Philadelphia state representatives to address the issue of "stop and go" nuisance alcohol-selling businesses today advanced out of the Liquor Control Committee to the full House of Representatives.

House Bill 1547 was introduced by state Reps. Jordan Harris and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila.; and Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. The bill would allow the state Liquor Control Board to designate saturated nuisance market areas, where violations would be subject to enhanced penalties, fines and suspensions, and allow the board to remove licenses from those areas.

Harris said, "While the majority of business owners who sell alcohol are responsible business owners, there are those who have been able to operate using business practices that are not in the best interests of the communities that they provide service to; understanding that, we have created legislation that will provide greater state and municipal oversight of those businesses who have skirted the rule of law and created nuisances in our communities that in many cases have altered the quality of life for those residents who live in the areas these businesses serve."

Bullock said: "A key part of this bill is allowing for more coordination between the state and local communities to regulate these nuisance businesses. Under this bill, the Liquor Control Board would be given the authority to look at the number of citations, police incidents, objection to renewals and conditional license agreements of eatery and restaurant licensees to determine if a zip code area should be deemed a saturated nuisance market location. In addition, in an area designated as saturated, residents and community leaders would have additional input on licenses transferred in the zip code."

McClinton said: "No Pennsylvanian should be held hostage by nuisance businesses, decreased quality of life and the increased crime associated with them. This legislation would give the Liquor Control Board and the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement some vitally needed tools they could use to make neighborhoods safer and help reduce crime."

Harris added, "I appreciate the bipartisan support and cooperation we are receiving on this issue."

Harris commended the work several Philadelphia legislators have done on the issue over the years, including House Democratic Caucus Secretary Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., and Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, chair of the Philadelphia Delegation, which has held a series of public meetings on the issue this year.