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Pennsylvania House Passes Liquor Privatization Bill

    
PAStateBoardThe Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently took a dangerous step toward privatizing the sale of wine and spirits, voting 105-90 to approve a measure which would gradually sell off state-held liquor licenses to private entrepreneurs. All but five Republicans backed the HB 790, and all 85 Democrats opposed it. Should the bill pass the Senate, Pennsylvania's 600+ state run liquor stores would close, and the state would lose at least $80 million annually. What’s worse, Pennsylvanians would pay the price in increased societal costs and alcohol-related harm. The state Senate will hold its first hearing on the bill on Tuesday, April 30.
 
 

Free Our Sports 2013 Video Contest Winners Announced


Three young filmmakers were awarded top prizes for their entertaining counter-alcohol ads submitted to the 2013 Free Our Sports™ Youth Film Festival. The contest challenged them to help expose and eliminate global alcohol advertising, sponsorships, branding and promotions from every sport, from college games to the NFL championship, from the World Series to the World Cup and Olympics. The winners are:

-- First Prize ($1000) – Regrets” (Adnan Islam, age 14, Olathe, Kansas)
-- Second Prize ($500) – Alcohol Ads and Kids” (James Jackson, age 20, Allendale, Michigan)
-- Third Prize ($250) – The Right Message” (Mikinley Weaver, age 17, North Salt Lake, Utah)

Congrats to the winners and everyone who entered! Learn more about the Free Our Sports 2013 contest here

 

 

Report: Alcohol-Related Harm Costs Wisconsin $6.8 Billion a Year

    
HealthFirstLogonew report has put a price tag on the annual cost of excessive drinking in Wisconsin, estimating that it costs the state $6.8 billion a year. The study, conducted and published by Health First Wisconsin, totaled drinking-related costs in the areas of health care, criminal justice, lost workplace productivity, and at home. The figure amounts to the equivalent of $1200 per year per Wisconsin resident, and taxpayers end up absorbing approximately $2.9 billion of the total costs. Examples of alcohol-related harm contributing to the cost in 2011 included more than 1,500 deaths, nearly 50,000 hospitalizations, and more than 46,000 treatment admissions. The new Wisconsin study is similar to the Alcohol Justice report, The Annual Catastrophe of Alcohol Use in California, available here
 
 

Nine States Considering Alcohol Tax Increases

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So far, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for state proposals to increase alcohol taxes. Eight states have introduced bills this year that would raise the tax rate on some or all alcoholic beverages in their state. Several of the proposed bills, including ones introduced in New York, New Hampshire, and Minnesota, specifically charge for harm by allocating alcohol tax revenues to mitigate the rising costs of alcohol-related harm. Other proposals include Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia. Even policymakers in Wyoming, the state with the lowest beer tax rate (passed at its current rate in 1935), have indicated an interest in increasing the tax rate in order to bring in more revenue. Increasing alcohol taxes is one of the most effective public policies available to reduce alcohol-related harm, and is consistently associated with decreases in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, all-cause mortality, violence, and alcoholism. To read more about specific alcohol tax bills introduced in each state, see our Legislative Summary page.