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Boisterous and Tense Moments at Pa. Liquor Store Privatization Hearing

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(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The chairman of the Pennsylvania state senate committee vetting liquor privatization legislation says he expects to offer his own bill in about two weeks, now that his panel has held the last of three hearings on the issue.

The last hearing before the Senate Law and Justice Committee turned raucous when the ranking Democrat on the panel, Jim Ferlo, attacked several members of the Corbett cabinet for supporting liquor privatization as a room packed with state store workers cheered him on.

“For the colonel of the state police to even suggest that a proliferation of alcohol around the state is somehow going to be enhanced under privatization I think is just almost laughable on its face,” Ferlo said.

But his comments got a stern rebuke from Lt. Governor Jim Cawley (at center in photo):

“What should be embarrassing to you is the way you just impugned the character of three very excellent public servants!”

The Pennsylvania House has already passed a liquor privatization bill.  The chairman of the Senate committee says he expects to offer his own bill that will significantly reduce the number of state-run liquor stores in Pennsylvania.

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