Liquor privatization bill passes in Harrisburg

PA Legislators Debating Privatization of Liquor StoresIt took close to eight hours as both political parties debated the bill but finally around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, it was passed in the state House of Representatives.

Democrats voted unanimously against it. They say this bill will put thousands of people out of work, cost the state money, and lead to higher rates of alcoholism.

“If this bill is enacted, it will cost thousands of hard-working Pennsylvanians their jobs. These are workers in Harrisburg, in Dauphin County and beyond who stand to lose their jobs at no fault of their own,” says Rep. Patty Kim, (D-Dauphin.) “Our struggling economy cannot withstand any more unemployed workers, especially in the greater Harrisburg region. And they will be lost to big-box retail giants. It just doesn’t add up. My choice was convenience or jobs: I choose saving jobs.”

However, the Republicans have been arguing people have wanted this for a long time.

“We took a historic first step toward moving Pennsylvania into the 21st century and allowing the private sector to handle the sale of wine and spirits,” says Rep. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster.)  “I voted in favor of House Bill 790, because the bottom line is government should not have a role in the sale of alcohol, and the majority of constituents that have reached out to me on this issue agree.”

They say this will bring shoppers back into Pennsylvania who’ve been leaving the state for lower prices; they continued to say it’ll double the number of stores. Also, it will let grocery stores sell wine and beer.
The House Bill 790 passed with a 105 to 90 vote and will now move on to the State Senate.

Decades after the end of prohibition, Pennsylvania is moving one step closer to getting the government out of the alcohol business; however, it is far from a done deal.