Carn says the issue was hung up in the House Liquor Control Committee
because its former chairman, a now-ousted lawmaker from western Pennsylvania, was not pushing the changes.
The new chairman of the committee is Rep. Robert Donatucci, D-Philadelphia. He supports the reforms.
The bills mostly make technical changes to existing liquor law to give community and neighborhood groups more say in which outlets get licensed or re-licensed by the state.
They would, for example, allow residents living within 1,500 feet of a bar to request hearings on licenses, renewals or transfers. Current law says 500 feet.
They also would speed the appeals process and force bars to prove they should remain open during appeals. Current law automatically allows bars to stay open during appeals.
It's estimated more than 300 bars or delis in Philadelphia can be called ''nuisance" establishments.
Carn was joined by a half-dozen other Philadelphia lawmakers at a Capitol news conference promoting the changes.
"The time for rhetoric is over. The time for legislative action is here," Carn said.
Afterwards, he acknowleged past delays, but said he's optimistic that having a city lawmaker as committee chairman will help speed the process.
State Liquor Control Board spokeswoman Donna Pinkham said "additional legislation is needed" to fight nuisance bars and said beer stores remain "a significant concern."
She said law provides a long process for resolving complaints. She said, for example, that in 1992 the LCB refused to renew just 18 liquor licenses in Philadelphia, but 13 of those cases still are pending. There are more than
2,200 liquor licenses in the city.
One of Carn's changes would move the appeals process to Commonwealth Court to speed things up.
Carn said he hopes the bills pass the House before the Legislature's July summer break.