McDonnell ABC privatization plan in trouble for 2011 session
It looks like, barring a miracle, Governor Bob McDonnell‘s plan to privatize the state’s liquor stores will not survive the 2011 Virginia General Assembly session.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that the chairman of the House General Laws committee, Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) will use his Chairman’s privilege to prevent the bill from being heard. The move effectively kills the bill in the 2011 session. Senate leaders have said that they won’t take the bill up until it passes the House. Governor McDonnell could send down new legislation at any point in the session to reignite the debate, but given the signals sent today by House leadership that seems unlikely.
But just because liquor stores won’t get privatized in 2011, don’t think that means the debate has ended. Tucker Martin, Communications Director for McDonnell told me tonight that the Governor is “disappointed” that the bill did not get a full hearing in this year’s session, but said that McDonnell is committed to seeing ABC stores privatized during “this administration.”
Del. Bob Brink, the Democrat who carried the bill for McDonnell in the House still had not officially learned that the bill would not move forward when we reached him on the phone tonight. Brink believes Republicans should have allowed the bill to be heard in this session. Brink, has yet to give his full support to any of the proposed ABC privatization plans, but said he supports the idea “philosophically”. He also said this won’t be end of the debate.
“Well the governor has made it very clear that philosophically he thinks that selling hard liquor isn’t something that the state should be in the business of,” Brink said. “But it’s a question of, since we have been doing this for 75 years what’s going to be the effects of selling off those stores. I think he will be back again.”
You can hear extended clips from Del. Brink’s remarks below: