ED GAINEY and JAKE WHEATLEY
State House Republicans, spurred by Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-McCandless, have long complained that Pennsylvania residents should, like people in Ohio and West Virginia, be able to go to the convenience store to buy beer and wine, and that the state should not own liquor stores.
“We are moving the sale of wine and spirits to a place that is more convenient for the consumers, for the citizens of Pennsylvania, while maintaining responsibility throughout the state,” said Turzai on the house floor prior to the vote.
Except that is not true. Though HB 790’s passage in state house March 20 an historic first; no liquor privatization law has ever passed either house, if passed by the state senate, it would actually make it impossible to sell beer and wine at a convenience store or anywhere else.
Not only that, even though the bill prohibits anyone buying a license to sell liquor or wine, or both, from also selling beer, the only people who would be permitted to buy private liquor or wine licenses during the first 12 months after enactment, are licensed beer distributors.
House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Cheswick, gave perhaps the most succinct evaluation of the bill calling it chaotic.
“People want convenience. This legislation delivers chaos,” he said. “The amended bill is even more convoluted than the scheme that the governor proposed.”