Wine privatization measure takes first step in Senate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Legislation supported by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that would break state government control over the sale of wine in Pennsylvania is advancing in the state Senate.

A party-line committee vote Wednesday night sent the Republican-penned legislation toward a potential Senate floor vote in the chamber as early as Thursday.

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.

It isn’t clear whether it can pass the House, where majority Republicans favor a stronger privatization measure.

The sponsor, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, says the bill also would allow the state-owned stores more freedom to set hours and market products to improve profitability.

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