House votes unanimously to pass Ravenstahl bill

Bill protects social club liquor licenses in event of fire, renovations

HARRISBURG, Oct. 29 – On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass legislation by state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, which would allow community social clubs to save their liquor licenses in the event of extenuating circumstances.

The legislation, H.B. 1886, would allow social clubs to put their licenses into safekeeping beyond the current two-year limitation for a small fee, similar to the current regulations in effect for restaurant owners.

“I am happy that the House voted today to approve my legislation,” Ravenstahl said. “Our social clubs are part of the fabric of our communities, literally from cradle to grave. They play host to baby showers, college and high school graduation parties, weddings and wakes. My bill aims to ensure that social clubs can continue to serve as a community meeting ground, even if they need to close for a period of time.”

There are several reasons why a club may choose to close for an extended period, such as renovation, flood, fire, etc. However, unlike most other liquor licensees, club licensees are only permitted to keep their liquor license in safekeeping for one year, plus an additional year for an added fee. If the club licensee should need to exceed this time frame there are no other options to renew their license and they face the risk of revocation.

Ravenstahl’s legislation now moves to the state Senate, where it can be scheduled for a vote before being presented to Gov. Tom Wolf.