The debate continues now in the Pennsylvania House on whether 599 state-owned liquor stores should be replaced by privately-owned retailers.
To pass the bill, 102 "yay" votes are needed. There are 109 republicans, and the GOP is expected to provide the necessary votes.
Meanwhile, Democrats who are against privatization have spent the afternoon documenting their opposition, member-by-member, in floor speeches.
Former Republican Governors Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge tried to end the state's monopoly on liquor sales, but neither had any luck. Governor Corbett's proposal will be historic if Thursday's vote happens. No other privatization legislation has made it this far.
As the debate began, Republican Representatives got vocal when house Democratic whip Republican Mike Hanna said the bill would not raise $1 billion dollars for education as Gov. Corbett had promised. "Mr. Speaker, Governor Corbett cut $1 billion from public education in his first two years in office. Then Governor Corbett came forward and said he would raise $1 billion for education."
The bill calls for the creation of 12,000 wine and spirit licenses. Beer distributors would be given first chance to acquire the licenses and any licenses remaining after one year would be made available to the public.
If the bill is passed by the House, it goes to the senate for action. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said his focus is on imporving selection, price and convenience. He added it is likely the bill will undergo revisions in the Senate.