Public record or trade secret? Battle over number of liquor licenses could go to Pa. high court

By: Julia Shanahan

HARRISBURG — What began as a simple request for information about liquor licenses in Pennsylvania has turned into a protracted court battle pitting the public’s right to government records against the state-run liquor board’s ability to make money.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has twice been ordered to turn over information about how many licenses are eligible to be auctioned off in each county, most recently by the Commonwealth Court. But the agency is now appealing those decisions, asking the state’s highest court to intervene to protect information that it believes amounts to a trade secret.

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Pa. legislator says he’s ‘stunned’ Liquor Control Board is continuing court battle to block information on licenses

By: Jan Murphy

It’s back to court for a state lawmaker who has been fighting for the release of information about the number of out-of-service or revoked restaurant liquor licenses that exist in each county that are able to be auctioned.

State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria County, said he was stunned that after the Office of Open Records and the Commonwealth Court ordered that information’s release, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board decided to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court.

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