Harris 'Stop and Go' bill passes House

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., is pleased the House voted in favor of legislation that would address the issues of nuisance establishments that sell alcohol and disrupt the quality of life in the communities where they operate.

“The proliferation of these nuisance establishments throughout economically disadvantaged communities fuels the violence and general disruptions of family life while feeding into the stereotype of poor and dangerous neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are the same places where working-class parents are struggling to provide a decent home and striving to provide a superior quality of life for themselves and their children,” Harris said. “Families should not be forced to feel that their futures are under siege, held hostage by the less than scrupulous business practices. The legislature needed to act accordingly and we did by passing this legislation.”

House Bill 1547 was introduced by state Reps. Jordan Harris and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila.; and Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. The bill would allow the state Liquor Control Board to designate saturated nuisance market areas, where violations would be subject to enhanced penalties, fines and suspensions, and allow the board to remove licenses from those areas.

“Nuisance or problem liquor establishments have an immediate and negative impact on their surrounding areas. Unlike many responsibly owned bars and taverns that provide employment and entertainment to local communities while operating under the rule of law, nuisance businesses harm the communities and the residents that live near them by making every effort to skirt the laws put in place to protect the communities in which they operate. This legislation will hold these nuisance locations accountable to either change their business practices or leave our communities,” Harris said.

In addition to violations in other sections of the Liquor Code, violations in saturated areas would be subject to enhanced penalties, with the following fines and suspensions:

  • First offense - a fine of not less than $250, nor more than $1,000.

  • Second Offense - a fine not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000 and suspension of operating privileges for at least 7 days.

  • Third or subsequent offense - A fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 and license revocation.

“I want to thank co-sponsors Representatives Donna Bullock and Joanna McClinton and the rest of my fellow House members for taking this bold step in the direction of right, to address this public safety issue. It’s our responsibility to provide the people the safest neighborhoods possible,” he said.

“Although we are pleased that this bill has received the support of the members of the House in this current session, many members, both past and present, had been working towards achieving this goal for decades.”

The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.