I've been fighting this for a while now but there is only one conclusion I can come up with:
Some of our legislators are idiots.
There, I said it.
Reading the bills floating around that pertain to Liquor control one has to wonder what and why they are thinking some of these things. Who might they be pandering too? Some are pretty obvious and others not so much. I'll give you a few...strangely specific examples.
HB 619 - A bipartisan bill to change the requirements on who can hold a wine auction for a charity or non-profit. One of the limits is that you have to be: "(6) any nationally recognized community-based voluntary health organization committed to fighting cancer which has been in existence for at least ninety years"
Well, guess what...that leaves only the American Cancer Society. Groups like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which has only been around since 1950, don't qualify to have a wine auction to help them raise funds.
Sticking with HB 619 you have: "(7) any nationally recognized emergency response organization that offers humanitarian care to victims of war or natural disaster and has been in existence for at least one hundred twenty-five years"
Find another organization besides the Red Cross that fits those limits. Now if you live out in the sticks (a county of the third class) and raise guide dogs, for example, you could have opened last week and get an auction permit if HB 619 passes. Don't live in a county of the first or second class - they don't quality at all.
It isn't just that one bill. Here is HB 770, which has limits like this: "a club which has been issued a club liquor license and which, as of December 31, 2002, has been in existence for at least 100 years" This limits it to a handful of clubs like the Philadelphia Club and the Westmoreland Club, the only two I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are a few more. Nationally chartered clubs like the VFW and American Legion don't have an age requirement.
Then you have HB 55 which wants to expand the Liquor Control Board from the current three incompetents to six incompetents, with an additional three members from the industry for a total of nine -- with full pay and benefits of course. Here's a better idea: just require that one of the current three come from the industry. You're welcome.
HB 121 means well...if you happen to be in favor of skirting the minimum wage and child labor laws - to wit: "Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, a hotel, restaurant or club licensee may permit a minor of any age to perform music so long as the minor is not compensated and the minor is under the supervision of a parent or guardian." The parent or guardian part also goes against the current liquor code which states a supervisor "shall mean a person twenty-five years of age or older who is directly responsible for the care and conduct of a minor or minors while on the licensed premises and who keeps the minor or minors within his or her sight or hearing." Are there so many 8 year olds who are being prevented from crooning at the local saloon that we need a law passed about it and why shouldn't they be paid if they do?
HB 412 Wants to add "neighborhood improvement district management associations" as eligible entities - without any age restrictions. So start one today, get you a liquor license!
HB 483 Wants to redefine what Cider is and, to me, in a seemingly odd way by limiting the amount of flavor and carbonation. But it does remove the limit it can only be made from apples and it raises the alcohol content from 5.5 to 14%. My question is why not make it the same as beer which has no proof limit? Better yet, ask the people who know.
HB 488 Will raise penalties for licensees that sell to minors. Which is fine, great, but why doesn't it apply to the State Stores? Because they are never checked by any outside agency or police force for sales to minors, and they aren't "licensed."
Not to be outdone, the Senate also has some silliness going on with liquor control. Everything from "Modernization" SB 15 which readers know I've dissected already, to more "Eligible Entities" with age restrictions (SB 323)
SB 611 Will let the state stores sell lottery tickets, "except that no bond, insurance or indemnification may be required by the board" We all know that nothing (cough cough kiosk) ever goes wrong when the board does things.
This is about 20% of all the liquor-related bills introduced so far. Now you know why the liquor system in Pennsylvania is so screwed up. Wipe it clean and start again. Being normal isn't bad, but living in PA as a liquor consumer is.
END IT, DON'T MEND IT.