Pa. Liquor Stores Bill Advances

Revised proposal would maintain state stores, allow more options to buy wine, beer in Pa.

A state House committee gave its blessing to a revised plan to privatize Pa. liquor sales.

Legislation advancing in the state House would expand the options available in Pennsylvania for people to buy wine and beer while keeping the state liquor stores open.

The Republican-sponsored bill was approved Tuesday on a party-line vote in the House Liquor Control Committee. It is a major departure from the objective of Gov. Tom Corbett to shut down the state stores and auction wine and liquor sales licenses to private operators.

Under the bill, restaurants, bars and beer distributors could sell beer in a wider variety of quantities. Beer distributors also could sell wine, and wine wholesalers could compete with the state.

State liquor stores would be the only licensees that could sell hard liquor. It's not clear what the bill's prospects are in the full House or Senate.

Opponents, including the union representing state liquor store employees, say Pa. could lose more than $500 million dollars a year by shutting down the stores. Some also argue that increasing the numbers of outlets selling alcoholic beverages could lead to more problems from underage age drinking and other alcohol related problems.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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