As you know, the House passed HB790. It was clearly an historic day, the first time a liquor store privatization bill has ever passed out of a chamber of the Legislature. Let me say that again. This is the first time a liquor privatization bill has ever been passed in the Pennsylvania Legislature.
And that's great, but now it has to pass in the Senate, and the Republicans there are even more resistant to voting with their party, with their party's governor, and with their party's age-old direction on government functions. Why? Lots of reasons, but it's going to take time, it's going to take work, it's going to take YOU talking to your senator (and other Republican senators), because to pass, a privatization bill that's not watered down to a "modernization" bill will need all but one Republican senator.
Public opinion is energized, newspaper editorials are falling in favor of chopping the system apart, and even the New Jersey papers are getting into the act: they know damned well that privatization in Pennsylvania will mean a loss of business for NJ liquor stores. We need to keep the pressure on, we need to keep talking about this, and we need to be in the senator's mailboxes...and maybe in their offices.
I'm going to be gone for a bit, and the blog will be silent again. I've got another blog going for a project this Sunday -- Session Beer Day, a nationwide, low-key celebration of tasty, low-alcohol craft beers, more about it here -- and then I'm going to Scotland to tour distilleries for a book I'm writing. When I get back, we really need to talk about getting a visit to Harrisburg organized, to show the senators that while we don't have yellow t-shirts like the union, we're still serious about privatization of this fossilized relic of a "system" that should never have existed. And maybe we need to revisit the idea of a large group of people publicly, simultaneously, going over to NJ or Delaware, buying a bottle of booze, and openly bringing it back to PA: if the Senate won't give us privatization, we'll have to go and take it.
Get busy. Stay pumped. And talk to your Senators!