House committee approves Pa. liquor privatization bill

By - Last modified: March 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM

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File photo: Grocery store wine kiosks were cited by proponents of the privatization of Pa. liquor stores as one of the failures of the state-run liquor system.
File photo: Grocery store wine kiosks were cited by proponents of the privatization of Pa. liquor stores as one of the failures of the state-run liquor system.

Pennsylvania may be one step closer to private liquor sales.

The House Liquor Control Committee has voted in favor of House Bill 790, which calls for the privatization of Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor stores.

The bill, which now moves to the full House of Representatives for a vote, was sponsored by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, who called the vote to pass the bill out of committee "the most expansive wine and spirit legislation to pass out of committee since the end of Prohibition."

Gov. Tom Corbett, who has been championing the cause of liquor-store privatization, expressed his enthusiasm for the bill.

"This is a momentous first step to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century and provide Pennsylvanians with the convenience and choice that Americans in 48 other states enjoy," he said.

House Bill 790, as amended in committee, now includes a series of reforms for beer, liquor and wine sales in Pennsylvania. The amended bill allows beer distributers to expand their businesses to sell liquor and wine, as well as beer. The bill also allows private wine wholesalers to sell products to customers.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board would continue to operate state stores until retail outlets are double the number of existing state-operated outlets.

In the House, the bill would be open to amendments and further debate.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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