HARRISBURG PA – Employees at Pennsylvania liquor stores in Lower Pottsgrove, downtown Pottstown and elsewhere across the state soon could have even more incentive to check identification cards … because would-be buyers might be part of an undercover state police operation, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported Wednesday (June 4, 2014).
Reporter Andrew Staub wrote legislation is making its way through the state House of Representatives that would expressly authorize the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to investigate the stores, promoted as “Wine And Spirits Shops.”
If it becomes law, Staub added, it could end a double standard in which troopers investigate whether privately owned bars and restaurants – but not the stores – are selling alcohol to minors. Police have previously contended state store employees are well trained at checking IDs and that the stores are not considered licensed establishments, exempting them from law enforcement’s Age Compliance Check Program.
State Rep. John Taylor, Republican chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee, said the notion that state stores could have a perfect compliance rate “was always a bone of contention.” Private establishments could say that, too, but police can investigate to see if it’s true, he said.
Discussion about the lack of compliance checks originated during talks about liquor privatization in 2011.
“We don’t have any reason to believe that it’s a problem (at the stores), but now we’ll know just like every other establishment,” Taylor said after the legislation unanimously cleared his committee Tuesday (June 3).
The committee tweaked the bill Monday (June 2), removing language that would have allowed state police to issue citations to state stores for violations. One state agency fining another would have “no effect,” Taylor said.
Photo from Google Images