Cephas to organize coalition to serve as liquor enforcement task force

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced that she is launching a liquor control task force to address growing concerns and issues that stem from nuisance establishments negatively impacting Philadelphia neighborhoods and commercial corridors.

Cephas said the task force will be designed to bring together local and state agencies, business owners and area residents that are immediately impacted by the operation of these establishments.

"With the loosening of laws regarding liquor sales, businesses have greater opportunities to expand commerce and product lines, however, we are experiencing some unintended consequences of changing the laws," Cephas said. "It remains critical for local and state agencies to keep a watchful eye on nuisance establishments that are taking advantage of loopholes.

"West Philadelphia residents are speaking out with significant concerns and this a step in answering their call. This task force is a way to allow all stakeholders to be part of the solution. Throughout this process, I am prepared to go block by block to leave no stone unturned and no call unanswered to ensure our community assets stay as such."

Members of the task force will be tasked with reporting and resolving complaints from residents, tracking and examining new license requests and transfers, and making long-term legislative and policy recommendations.

In addition, Cephas, a member of the House Liquor Control Committee, plans to introduce several pieces of legislation that would strengthen current liquor laws by closing the loopholes associated with nuisance establishments.

The committee reviews and deliberates on all legislation involving the state’s Liquor Code and oversees the operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, including liquor enforcement and liquor licensing.

"This is an added opportunity to get ahead of the growing concerns and attack this issue head on," Cephas said. "No single person or agency can work alone to address this issue - so much more can be accomplished by working together with a common goal to improve the quality of life for the residents and business owners of Wynnefield, Overbrook, Carroll Park and beyond."