Pa. Senate begins debate on wine privatization measure

    The Pennsylvania Senate is beginning debate on legislation supported by Gov. Tom Wolf to break state government control over the sale of wine.

    Thursday’s debate was part of a broader effort by the Senate and Wolf to end a 5-month-budget stalemate.

    However, it isn’t clear whether the bill can pass the House, where majority Republicans favor a stronger privatization measure and demanded that the issue be settled in a bipartisan budget deal.

    Under the bill, some 14,000 holders of take-out beer licenses would be able to sell up to four bottles of wine. Beer distributorships aren’t included and selling hard liquor would remain the sole territory of the approximately 600 state-owned stores.

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    Republican backers said the bill also would allow state-owned stores more freedom to set hours and market products to improve profitability.

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