For roughly eight hours Thursday Pennsylvania's House of Representatives discussed selling the now state-owned liquor system.
Then amended, then passed House Bill 790 by a vote of 105 to 90.
"Thank you for accomplishing what is clearly a historic feat. It ends the system of a state run liquor business which we all know is not a core function of government,” explained Governor Corbett. “We're doing away with the failed experiment of prohibition and telling our citizens that we know you're adults and you should have the ability to choose."
Some lawmakers say this move makes sense and benefits the people.
"A majority of my constituents want to see privatization, like to see the government out of the liquor business and I support that and I think that some of the things it's going to bring competition, prices should be lower, more convenience for the consumers," stated Dauphin County Representative Ron Marsico.
"I think everybody believes that privatization you'll have more convenience, more selection and lower prices,” Lancaster County Representative Mike Sturla countered. “The reality is, what we've seen in other states, that are privatized, in rural areas the stores close down so there is less convenience. The selection in the stores, nobody carries 30,000 bottles of wine and spirits like we do in the liquor store in PA."
The bill, which has been amended by the House, will give beer distributors the first shot at 1,200 wine and spirit licenses and open grocery stores to wine sales.
The states’ 600 wine stores would be phased out as the number of private operators grow.
This now has to go to the Senate, which the Governor says, could vote on it after the Easter holiday.
Some senators including Senate Leader Dominic Pileggi have said they'd rather modernize than privatize.
Lawmakers are calling this a historic moment. The PA House voted to pass the liquor privatization bill.
The bill passed the house with a 105-90 vote and those lawmakers who voted for the bill said it would make it more convenient for people and drop prices. Those against the bill disagreed.
After the vote, leaders of the House met in private with Governor Tom Corbett before allowing media into the room.
The bill, which has been amended by the House would give beer distributors the first shot at 1,200 wine and spirit licenses and open grocery stores to wine sales.
The State's 600 wine stores would be phased out as the number of private operators grow.
The Senate has to vote on the bill before it goes to the Governor. They are expected to take it up this June.
Pennsylvanians are one step closer to having a choice and convenience for buying alcohol.
The PA House passed Bill 790, or the liquor privatization bill, by a vote of 105-90.
This vote marks history. A liquor privatization bill has never passed through either chamber of the legislature.
The bill now will go to the Senate, which is scheduled to return to Harrisburg April 8th.
Auditor General Eugene Depasquale issued this statement:
“I am looking forward to working with Senators to ensure that any changes to the Liquor Code include transparency and accountability measures that the Department of the Auditor General’s office can bring to the issue. Regardless of how and where alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania, independent audits are essential to ensure complete compliance with conditions established by law.”