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Pa. lawmakers' 6th straight day heads into night

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm •  Published: June 29, 2013

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans worked into the wee hours of Saturday morning to win a key vote on a bill to privatize wine and liquor sales over Democratic objections, but whether it was enough to win over House leaders who favored a more aggressive approach remained unclear.

The Senate bill would retain state ownership of the lucrative wholesale business of shipping liquor and wine, but allow the state's 1,100 retail beer distributors to buy permits to sell wine and liquor and allow certain other food stores to buy permits to sell wine.

The two issues are indirectly linked: Senate Republicans have made a transportation bill a top priority while House GOP leaders helped lead efforts to privatize the state-controlled liquor and wine system. Several Republican senators said some support for the wine and liquor plan was driven by a desire to encourage House passage of a transportation funding bill.

The Senate also may advance legislation to potentially expand Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of adult Pennsylvanians under the 2010 federal health care law. The bill won approval from a Senate committee on Friday night, even though support for it is uncertain from Corbett and potentially hostile House Republican leaders.

Republicans have all but abandoned efforts to pass legislation sought by Corbett that makes major changes to public employee pension laws.

Also circulating were proposals that would increase business tax deductions, allow small games of chance at bars and help Corbett make a legal case to Attorney General Kathleen Kane for his contract to hire a British company to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery.