Very good point from Rich Wilkins in his response to my response arguing for Democrats to engage on alcohol liberalization.The House Dems are not going to stick their necks out and work with Turzai to make this bill better without a Senate bill. If the House passes a bill with Democratic support, and the Senate never acts, then Dems will have pissed off labor for no reason. It’d be one thing to vote your convictions, pass the law and then get taken out in a labor-backed primary, but quite another to vote your convictions, fail to pass the bill, and then get primaried out anyway. Alcohol reformers need to keep the pressure on the suburban Senate Republicans and urban and suburban Democrats:
The 27-23 divided Senate will have to come up with something before this gets serious, and my guess is that they can’t, as is. My guess is that Governor Corbett might reach out though to Democrats, in the Senate. He’ll need votes, and House leaders won’t be comfortable floating a compromise bill with the Senate unless the Governor goes and gets them some Democrats to actually cross-over and support it. Given Corbett’s current standing, I’m not even sure he can move the nervous GOP Senate majority, which could lose a 20 year stranglehold on the chamber next year.
I guess what all of this means is this- the best chance of a bill to sell the liquor stores passing in PA is for the House and Senate GOP’s to get their members in-line to vote a party-line bill through, and get it to the Governor’s desk. I don’t see how Corbett finds 102 House and 25 Senate GOP members to vote for a compromise right now. It’s much easier for him pull along enough Republicans, rather than to balance give-and-takes with Democrats for support, knowing that he’ll lose a number of Republican votes if he gives in on Sunday sales, for instance.
More importantly, look at this from a Democratic standpoint. With no Senate bill at all in existence, could Minority Leader Dermody go negotiate with Turzai, and possibly have members of his caucus take a vote that will make them enemies with labor, on a bill that may never even get a vote in the other house? The politics of this suggest no.