House passes Rep. McNeill's bill to extend hours to sell alcohol at performing art facilities

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill today co-sponsored by state Reps. Jeanne McNeill, D- Lehigh, and Steve Samuelson, D-Northampton, that would allow performing arts facilities to adjust their operating hours and begin selling alcohol during performances at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

McNeill said she introduced the legislation (H.B. 1589) because performing arts facilities are still prohibited from selling alcohol before 1 p.m. on Sundays even though other licensed establishments are permitted to begin selling earlier on Sundays.

“The hours change would better accommodate the various show times, which often begin before 1 p.m.,” McNeill said. “Pennsylvania has 95 active and pending performing arts facility licensees that would benefit from this change.”

In addition, the legislation also would allow small movie theatres to quality for a performing arts facility license. To qualify, a movie theatre would have to have seating for at least 100 people, but no more than 300 to 350 people. The small movie theatre must screen independent films, foreign films, classic films and second-run films on no more than four movie screens. Independent films are defined in the legislation as features and films produced outside a major film studio system, or by an independent entertainment agency.

Performing arts facilities are defined as halls or theatres in which live musical, concerts, dance, ballet and legitimate plays or book-length productions are performed.

The bill is now being considered by a state Senate committee.