PLBC, Philadelphia Delegation hail passage of new authority to deal with 'stop-and-go' nuisances

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today hosted a news conference in the state Capitol, celebrating passage of a bill that would increase the state's authority to deal with "stop-and-go" nuisance businesses in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.

The new authority is included in a Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 674), which the House passed Tuesday. The Senate passed the bill Monday. Under the bill, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensee does not meet a requirement under the Liquor Code for seating, square footage, food or health, it could suspend the license immediately. The bill also would give local government entities the power to make recommendations to the LCB to investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements.

“While stop-and-go enforcements have always been a popular idea, it took a great amount of courage and political will to get it done,” said Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “There were a lot of sacrifices made to ensure these enforcements were put in place. None of this would be possible without the bipartisan and bicameral collaboration that we saw take place.”

In September, Harris hosted state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, for a tour of stop-and-go establishments in Philadelphia. Harris also sponsored earlier legislation to address the issue of stop-and-gos.

“Senator McIlhinney played a major role in making these reforms possible. His willingness to visit Philadelphia and see firsthand the magnitude of the issue speaks volumes and I thank him for that,” Harris said.

Donatucci, chairwoman of the Philadelphia County Delegation, said this is an issue legislators have been trying to tackle for a long time.

“Stop-and-gos have been an issue since my late husband was in office,” Donatucci said. “These enforcements are good for Philadelphia and good for our commonwealth. I’m glad that we were able to finally lay this issue to rest.”

Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., who sponsored earlier legislation to address stop-and-gos, said: "We were able to pass this bill because of support from both parties, from members of both the House and Senate, from city officials and from the residents who have been dealing with this issue day in, day out and said 'we deserve better' and 'enough is enough.' I thank Senator McIlhinney, who doesn't live in Philadelphia, for coming to see the problem for himself and for working with us to get this passed."

Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, who also sponsored earlier legislation to address stop-and-gos, said: "I want the people at 60th and Market, and on Woodland Avenue, to know what happens when we keep fighting for our communities. We've seen businesses leave 60th Street because of stop-and-gos, and now we hope to see a return of more responsible businesses to our communities. I appreciate everyone's hard work on this, and look forward to Governor Tom Wolf signing this bill into law."

Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said that stop-and-gos have been a major problem in her district and spurred her to host a public meeting on resolving the issue in April.

“The stop-and-go enforcements included in the Fiscal Code are a huge win for countless communities across the commonwealth,” Cephas said. “This is especially true for middle neighborhoods like Overbrook, Haddington and Carroll Park in my district, which are on the verge of revitalization. I’ve been speaking on this issue before I became elected. It’s one of the issues I was eager to tackle upon taking office.”