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Pa. Senate OKs wine home delivery

HARRISBURG - The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would let Pennsylvania consumers have wine shipped directly to their homes.

HARRISBURG - The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would let Pennsylvania consumers have wine shipped directly to their homes.

The measure, which now heads to the House, allows all wineries to obtain a permit to ship any quantity. Under current law, out-of-state retailers have only been allowed to send wine to a state-run liquor store for residents to pick up.

The GOP-led House could vote on the measure as early as next week, said House Republicans spokesman Steve Miskin.

Though the bill has support in both parties, drama unfolded on the Senate floor when it came up for debate Wednesday. Democrats tried to amend it to include elements of a liquor "modernization" plan supported by Gov. Wolf - a sticking point in state budget negotiations.

Their efforts were swiftly shut down by Republicans, leading Democrats to complain that democracy was being thwarted.

"What we have is the tyranny of the majority," said Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.). "If that majority is going to have its way - which it probably will in the end - at least the people of the commonwealth deserve to know exactly what is going on here."

The disagreement came as Republicans try to push through a yet-to-be-unveiled liquor privatization bill as part of budget negotiations. House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R., Indiana) said Tuesday that House and Senate Republicans are close to agreeing on a measure that would let the state lease wholesale operations of the Liquor Control Board and cause a gradual shutdown of state liquor stores.