Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York), Chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, convened the first voting meeting of the committee for the 2021-2022 legislative session to consider four bills.
House Bill 425, sponsored by Representative Dowling, allows a holder of a liquor license to sell their stock of liquor and wine to another license holder when they close their business. Current law only allows licensees to sell their stock to the buyer of their license. This bill was amended to also provide COVID-related extensions for restaurants and bars – specifically to temporarily extend licensed premises for outdoor dining, remove restrictions on off-premise catering permits, waive fees and allow licensees an additional year of safekeeping.
House Bill 427, sponsored by former Representative Pyle, increases the current licensee discount from 10% to 15%. The increased discount does not apply to grocery or convenience stores and will revert to the original 10% discount three years after the end of the current disaster emergency proclamation.
Senate Bill 503, sponsored by Senator Regan, expands the Heart and Lung Act. This bill amends the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law, known as the Heart and Lung Act, to expand the list of covered law enforcement officers, including members of the Fort Indiantown Gap Police, commissioned police officers of the Department of Corrections’ Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence, investigative staff with the Office of Inspector General, DCNR rangers, campus police at participating state-owned, -aided, or -related colleges and universities, and county corrections and probation officers. Similar legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate last session.
Senate Bill 566, sponsored by Senator Regan, amends the Liquor Control Board’s current license auction to establish a yearly excess auction for licenses that did not receive bids during the regular auction process. All available licenses in an excess auction would be up for bid by any entity in any county of Pennsylvania. However, no more than one license would be awarded within a county per year, and existing processes for transferring a license would need to be followed. The bill also allows for full payment to be made within six months of a winning bid, rather than the current two weeks.
All four of these bills passed unanimously out of the Law & Justice Committee and now go to the full Senate for consideration.