A new Republican privatization plan will be taken up by the Senate Friday afternoon according to the latest AP report.
Republicans have been feverishly trying to develop a plan that would garner the 26 Senate votes necessary to pass a wine and liquor bill. The new plan mandates that state stores could remain open until they are outnumbered 2-1 by private distributors, according Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Angela Couloumbis. It would also allow restaurants to sell wine but would limit the sale of hard liquor to state stores and beer distributors. It would also lift the gas prohibition for many convenience stores across the state.
“We’re making tremendous progress,” Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said yesterday. “We’re very close.”
Liquor privatization has been squarely on Gov. Corbett’s radar over the last few months, but some lawmakers called the plan “dead” as recently as last week. This new surge to get a viable bill passed before the July 1 budget deadline is certainly welcoming news to his administration.
Some are still convinced that the plan won’t get finished in time.
“I don’t believe that they have 26 votes, or that they got any closer to having 26 votes today,” said Wendell Young IV, president of the union that represents several thousand state-owned liquor store clerks, to the Patriot News.
Even some Republicans aren’t bullish towards the idea. State Sen. Jake Corman told the paper that issues like liquor privatization are “distracting” to passing the general budget.
“We’ve been working hard with the House, trying to engage the governor on everything and his staff and had some discussions. But again, other issues are clouding,” Corman said.
We could have a clearer picture on the liquor bill after the discussions this afternoon.