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Statement: SB 1212 moves, balances sound regulations for liquor licencees

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Statement: SB 1212 moves, balances sound regulations for liquor licencees

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s action in the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee moving SB 1212. The PLBTA, based in Harrisburg, is the statewide political voice for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.

 

Today, the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee moved SB 1212, a bill that would balance sound regulations for all liquor licensees while also addressing increased demand for outdoor dining and entertainment in light of continued COVID-19 illnesses. There was no opposition to the bill in the committee.

For the past two years, Pennsylvanians have put greater demand on outdoor activities including dining and entertainment. Unfortunately, for non-winery licensees, offering outdoor activities is problematic due to state laws that do not allow these licensees to have any sound on their property line.

In other words, if a pin drop can be heard on their property line, they can be cited and fined. According to National Hearing Conservation Association, normal conversation is between 60 and 70 decibels.

This type of outdated liquor code thus has hampered opportunities for many tavern, bar, and licensed restaurants owners wanting to offer outdoor dining and entertainment but fearing the consequences of having the slightest level of sound on their property line.

SB 1212, sponsored by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County, would allow all liquor licensees the same reasonable amount of sound on their property line. As the bill is written today, licensees would be permitted up to 75 decibels on their property line from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Depending upon the size of the establishment’s property, being allowed to have up to 75 decibels on their property line would likely allow many establishments to offer outdoor dining with lower levels of music being played such as acoustic guitars.

During the committee hearing, Sen. Regan offered an amendment to allow the law once passed to become effective immediately. The committee agreed.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has been stating throughout the pandemic that this type of reasonable change is much needed to help better accommodate those concerned about COVID. But, even before the pandemic, our Association had advocated for this change simply to be fair to all liquor licensees. This has been one of our legislative priorities set by our Board of Directors.

The PLBTA thanks, Sen. Michael Regan and the members of the Senate Law & Justice Committee for moving SB 1212. And, our Association thanks Sen. Phillips-Hill for her understanding of this issue and her sponsorship of the bill.

We encourage the Senate to move this bill in a timely manner, and to pass it as is without amendments.

 

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