The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 28, 2013

Last call for liquor vote?

John Finnerty
CNHI Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — The state Senate was poised late Friday night to approve an amended version of legislation to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

The Senate took a break at 10:15 p.m. while a revised version of the bill was being printed.

The late-night vote would come after Republicans in the Senate had held a series of closed-door meetings all week, as leaders sought to twist arms and tweak the plan to get enough votes to pass the amendment without any Democratic help.

Republicans hold a 27-23 edge in the Senate.

Senate Republicans had announced a plan that would replace the existing state store system by allowing beer distributors and businesses that sell six-packs to begin selling wine and liquor.

The Senate measure would not immediately get the state out of the wholesale liquor business. Rather, the bill authored by Sen. Charles McIlhenney, R-Bucks, would set a two-year time frame for a legislative committee to determine the value of the wholesale business before it’s sold.

The handling of the wholesale liquor business could set up a tussle with House Republicans who want to completely dismantle the state’s liquor monopoly.