Harris to introduce legislation authorizing extended liquor sales

PHILADELPHIA, April 13 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phlia., announced today that he plans to introduce legislation which would amend the Liquor Code to allow businesses to apply for extended use permits, which would authorize the sale of alcohol beyond 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

"This legislation would create a more attractive Pennsylvania and further a goal of appealing to young professionals and millennials who can greatly improve our local economies," Harris said. "Philadelphia especially has lagged behind other major cities within a short radius as far as nightlife is concerned, and this bill would put our city on par with some of the largest cities in the country as far as having a healthy, vibrant nightlife.

"Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and cities in between are world-class cities of higher education and we need to create an environment where the nightlife encourages young people who become educated here to stay in our Commonwealth to live, work and play. While I understand nightlife isn’t the only concern for those making a decision on whether to stay in cities across Pennsylvania or move, I do know that it is a concern, one that we can fix, enhance and as a city, benefit from."

Harris’ legislation would charge a business 10 percent of the yearly fee it pays to have a liquor license to have an extended permit license, with 50 percent of that total going to the municipality and 50 percent going to the State Stores Fund.

It also requires that at least one public hearing be held by the municipality for public input. The municipality would have the authority to refuse to issue a license based on the standing of the business or if the issuance of an extended use permit would affect the welfare, health, peace or morals of the municipality or its residents. The bill aims to create designated entertainment zones away from residential neighborhoods where nightlife can occur and flourish.

"Specifically in Philadelphia, these permits will not be targeted as something local neighborhood bars would be applying for, but more along the lines of economic development drivers in areas that attract more tourism, such as Delaware Avenue and other areas of entertainment," Harris said. "Ideally this legislation would encourage people out of local neighborhood bars earlier and to these areas to continue their nightlife. This is not a mandate which must be acted on, but gives local governments another means to bring revenue into the state."

Philadelphia civic leader Ben Stango said, "Philadelphia is one of the nation’s best cities for young professionals, with a fun and affordable quality of life unparalleled by other major municipalities. This legislation will take our nightlife to the next level. It will also generate funds for the city and state, while incorporating responsible oversight to preserve the peace and quiet of our neighborhoods. This bill will help Philly take another step toward becoming a world-class city.”