Bill could put wine in Pa. grocery stores


Long-sought reforms on the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania may finally become a reality, after the House passed a sweeping modernization bill Tuesday.

Pennsylvanians may soon be able to purchase up to four bottles of wine to go at restaurants, hotels and convenience and grocery stores after the passage of House Bill 1690. Existing state stores would remain in place.

If the bill is enacted, Pennsylvanians could see wine in grocery stores by November, House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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The measure passed through the Republican-controlled House with overwhelming approval, 157-31, and now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, PennLive reported.

It passed through the Senate last year.

The governor has previously said he’s open to expanding the availability of wine and beer to other locations, but opposes privatization. In July 2015, Wolf vetoed Republican legislation that would have closed state-run liquor stores and permit private sales, saying the measure would result in higher prices for customers.

House Republicans are now moving away from efforts to privatize and toward modernization, which seeks to make existing stores more customer friendly. Wolf has echoed the necessity for modernization, telling PennLive in February 2015 that he’s “for Sunday sales.”

Among Republicans leading the charge is Mike Turzai, who sponsored House Bill 1690.

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“We are, in fact, going to move Pennsylvania into the 21st century,” House Speaker Mike Turzai said Tuesday. “It is an important, historic step and this is a product that is shared by all of us.”

This measure comes less than a month after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted to permit the sale of six-packs at gas stations, a step that Wolf supported.

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