Harrisburg – June 6, 2016 – State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) today released a letter to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) expressing his “adamant opposition” to the issuance of licenses to sell alcohol at gas stations and convenience stores in Philadelphia.

Williams is reacting to the recent PLCB decision to permit beer sales in gas stations and convenience stores. The letter from Williams to the PLCB follows:

June 6, 2016

The Honorable Tim Holden, Chairman
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Room 518, Northwest Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17124

Dear Chairman Holden,

I am writing to express my adamant opposition to the issuance of licenses to sell alcohol at gas stations and convenience stores in Philadelphia. Recently, the Liquor Control Board approved nine licenses for six-pack sales at gas stations in the Northeast and Western parts of the state. While the constituents of those regions may have expressed a desire for those licenses, my own constituents do not support the expansion of venues for alcohol sales.

The neighborhoods in my district already suffer from a scourge of so-called “Stop and Go” convenience stores, where liquor is sold by the shot alongside candy and hoagies. These licensees take advantage of lax enforcement efforts by the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement while exploiting loopholes in the seating and food service requirements. Each day, children and teenagers who enter these establishments on routine errands are exposed to drunken patrons who congregate both inside and outside of the nuisance bars. Additionally, Stop and Go’s are magnets for drug dealing and other criminal activity which negatively affects communities.

Residents have expressed concerns to me that expanding beer sales to gas stations will only exacerbate the issues created by limited enforcement against nuisance convenience store “R” licensees. Going forward, I would ask that the PLCB consider community input before approving additional licenses for gas stations to sell beer, and to pay special attention to areas where increased access to alcohol has increased crime and nuisance complaints. Additionally, I hope to continue working with you to enhance BLCE’s nuisance bar program. My constituents have struggled for many years to combat the ills brought into their neighborhoods by such establishments; to expand available venues for alcohol sales would be disastrous.

Anthony Hardy Williams
PA Senate – 8th District