New push to end state store system

    The push for liquor privatization in Pennsylvania is back, after months of being eclipsed by other issues in the state Legislature.

    According to the Capitol’s most dogged legislative supporter of privatization, House and Senate GOP leaders are talking once again about a plan to phase out state liquor stores.House Majority Leader Mike Turzai isn’t sharing details, but says the fact that it’s an election year works to the advantage of privatization supporters.

    “I think it’s helpful because it’s a very, very tangible thing that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians want and it’s true for every demographic and it’s true for every region in the state,” Turzai said.

    House lawmakers passed a privatization plan last spring, but progress stalled over the summer as Senate lawmakers took the measure under consideration.

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    On the Senate side, there now appears to be some agreement.Republican Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati says this might be the year to change the state’s patchwork system of regulating alcohol sales.”For me, personally, and I think what translates best around here is consumers need to see something in their hands this year,” Scarnati said. “They need to see something – a change. And some of those changes are relatively, I think, not that difficult to make.”

    In the past Scarnati has thrown cold water on efforts to sell off state stores, preferring moves that make it more convenient to buy alcohol across the commonwealth.


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