Top 5 PLBTA Actions of 2022
As a statewide organization whose primary purpose is to advocate for Pennsylvania’s small business and family-owned bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants, we’re always trying to measure ourselves by asking a simple question … did we make a difference for our Members?
There are many moving pieces that test our abilities. And, throughout a two-year legislative cycle, our Association tracks about 175-200 bills and sponsorship memos. Some of these bills would be good for our Members and some that would not be. However, only a few of these bills will become law, meaning you really have to have the stars aligned and be on your game to get something to the finish line.
But, despite the challenges we face, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association can confidently say that we were one of only a few associations in the liquor space that got a legislative agenda item signed by the Governor.
We have a sharp Board of Directors made up of industry peers who understand “inside baseball” at the state capitol. We have an excellent lobbyist in John Nikoloff, who keeps our name and issues in front of politicians on a daily basis. And, we are effective in our public affairs work, reaching out to traditional and non-traditional media throughout the state to bang the drum a little louder on issues of importance.
But everything isn’t about the politics of Harrisburg. We’re quite aware that Pennsylvania bars need to have the public’s trust and support the communities that support us.
When we reflect back on 2022, it’s easy to see how our secret sauce is a winner and is the reason why the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the leading voice in Pennsylvania for small business taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants.
Here’s our top success stories of 2022 …
- Act 67 of 2022: On July 11, Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 1615 into law and is now Act 67 of 2022. Attached to that bill, with help from Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill and others, was an amendment that created fairness for all liquor licensees by allowing all to have up to 75 decibels of sound on property lines during certain hours. We are happy to say that this was part of our legislative agenda for 2022.
- Coalition building to take on issues: On multiple occasions, we helped build teams of associations to fight for and sometimes against legislation. Coalition work included efforts to create competition with credit card swipe fees, fighting off threats against the tip credit as part of the minimum wage debate, finding solutions to beer transportation issues, and creating fairness with amplified sound liquor code to name a few. Some got to the finish line, while others are still in play. None-the-less, coalitions play an important role in our strategy.
- Official Summer Drink of 2022: In partnership with Holla Spirits and Uplifting Athletes, we declared the Official Summer Drink of 2022 to raise funds to help children with life-threatening illnesses. This program was recognized by Governor Wolf’s Office and helped build public trust as the leading voice of family-owned small business bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants. It also provided Members with a marketing opportunity to pull new customers into their businesses.
- Spoke out against a proposed constitutional amendment to privatize the state’s liquor industry: While we support privatization in philosophy, we were one of the first voices to speak up and protest against a constitutional amendment bill to do so. Supporting it would have been like taking a leap of faith, hoping the state government would later do the right thing to protect small businesses from being collateral damage. While some associations were in favor and willing to make that jump, we put our foot down and said no in order to protect our Members from unintended consequences. The bill did not move.
- Russian vodka: The invasion of Ukraine by Russia set off a string of boycotts, and one was Russian vodka. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association was one of the first associations in the country to support a boycott of Russian vodka. This advocacy effort gained significant publicity across the country for the association.
TavernPAC: Our PAC saved up its funds to use in 2022 since it was an election year and unleashed the most political contributions we’ve given in recent years. Best yet, every state representative or senator running for re-election that received funds from TavernPAC won. That includes several in leadership positions in caucuses and committees.