GOP senators suggest loosening state liquor laws

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HARRISBURG  — Democrats are blasting a day-old plan being circulated by Republican senators to liberalize Pennsylvania’s sale of alcoholic beverages.

Lobbyists for retail chains, transporters and distillers were in the Pennsylvania Capitol today in hopes of influencing any eventual vote.

Democratic Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, says the plan would sap $50 million from the state treasury at a time the state government’s finances are facing a $1 billion-plus deficit.

No vote is scheduled.

The Senate Republican plan would be a significant change from a bill that won House approval last year. It wouldn’t shut down the state-controlled wine and liquor system, as Gov. Tom Corbett has sought.

Rather, existing licensees such as bars, restaurants and retail beer distributors would be able to sell bottles of wine, as well as six-packs of beer.

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