On Tuesday, April 30th the Senate Law and Justice Committee held its first hearing on the issue of wine and spirits privatization. The hearing was the first of three scheduled hearings, which focused on the social impacts of privatization. Testifiers included the State Troopers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, PA Liquor Enforcement Association, Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth.
Overwhelmingly, the groups testifying agreed that increased access to alcohol would lead to increased social consequences. Les Neri, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge, stated that “it will lead to more alcohol-related and collateral type crimes, which will create a greater risk of harm to police officers and the civilians they are sworn to protect.”
Deb Beck, President of Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of PA, noted the negative health effects of alcohol and said “alcohol abuse and alcoholism is the number one drug problem in America.”
To conclude testimony, students from Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth testified in opposition to privatization, calling the idea “irresponsible,” reinforcing the fact that the long-term impacts far exceed the short term benefits, urging members not to put “financial interests above what is best for the people.”
The next Senate Law and Justice hearing will take place on Tuesday, May 14th at 1:00pm in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building.