By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
Last June, the state House came within a handful (or two) of the necessary votes to pass a liquor privatization bill.
The difference between then and now, according to the House Republican leaders who engineered Thursday’s passage, [which passed 105-90 in the House and is now on its way to the Senate] primarily came down to two men – Gov. Tom Corbett and state Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee.
Taylor had been lukewarm about House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s, R-Allegheny, liquor bill last session, and there were plenty of rumors swirling that he had been part of the dozen or so Republicans who defected from supporting the bill when it came to a head in June.
This time, he was a “yes” the whole way.
Turzai credited Taylor, but also praised Gov. Tom Corbett, who by all accounts was far more active (along with his staff) than he had been when the issue failed in 2012.
“It can’t get done if the governor is not out front for something this immense,” Turzai said. “The governor took the lead, and when we needed it, the capital was there.”
Corbett has always supported the policy of liquor privatization, but this year he needed to be a part of the bill’s success for political reasons, too. He’s facing mounting pressure on the right to achieve a landmark legislative win before his re-election bid gets going next year.
With the bill safely out of the state House, all eyes turn to the Senate. Earlier Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester, gave indications there will be a long road ahead (see further down in this live blog).
But Corbett said he’s ready for the next step.
“We talk to the Senate and try to convince them that it is time to get us out of the business of selling alcohol,” Corbett said.
This is an update from 3/21/13 at 11:15 p.m.