Liquor Privatization Bill Passes in House

Tom Corbett is halfway to reaching one of his major campaign promises: privatizing liquor and wine sales. Tonight, the House passed a bill to phase out state stores, and gradually hand over liquor licenses to private sellers, 105-90, after 7 hours of debate.

Under the plan, grocery stores could sell wine; beer distributors could sell wine and liquor; and, after the first year of implementation, licenses to sell wine and liquor would be up for sale for other private entities such as big-box stores.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has 30-60 days to bring the bill to a vote. He seems lukewarm, however: “It is not something that has been an item of active interest and discussion in the Senate,” he said, adding that even if it’s passed, it’ll probably feature a host of amendments. “I don’t think anyone expects the Senate to simply take up the House bill and move it to the governor’s desk as is.” [Newsworks]