The Senate will not rush to consider the liquor privatization bill, recently approved by the state House of Representatives, according to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware.
Pileggi said the Senate has its own Liquor Control Board modernization bill to consider — one that would keep the state stores.
Legislative observers said any liquor privatization effort will likely be worked out as part of the state budget process. The General Assembly has until June 30 to approve a spending plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The March 21 House vote was the first time a liquor privatization bill passed either chamber since the LCB was established in 1933 with the end of Prohibition. HB 790 is a modified version of Governor Tom Corbett’s original plan, but it would still phase out the 600 state liquor stores.
The bill would allow wine and spirit retail outlets by allowing private entities to purchase 1,200 new wine and spirit licenses one year after the law’s enactment. Another 600 could be available under the bill. Beer distributors would have the first right of refusal of the licenses to sell wine and spirits.
Grocery stores, big-box retailers, convenience stores and pharmacies would have to acquire a restaurant license to sell beer. Grocery stores could sell wine if they were to purchase a separate license.