Pennsylvania Newsmakers 4/14/13: Toomey Background Check Legislation and Governor's Race Update

hi welcome to Pennsylvania newsmakers and as always thanks for watching well in a surprise surprise move last week guess what a Senator Pat Toomey moved into the universal background check gun background check business with a big deal with West Virginia senator Manchin and we continue our series on liquor privatization Pennsylvania politics in depth and in detail and guess what it all starts right now this is Pennsylvania newsmakers a fast paced unrehearsed weekly discussion with and about the leaders who shape your world and now here’s your host Terry Madonna hey welcome back to the program Oh quite a week in national and state politics here to help me sort all these things out as Robert Vickers he’s the state and national reporter with the harrisburg patriot-news and I got to mention PennLive if I don’t which I’m my sick and all your friends that they keep saying it’s PennLive get on PennLive get on PennLive at any rate Robert thanks for coming on I tell you I think most of us in the past two weeks were stunned that a Pennsylvania conservative Senator mostly known for fiscal matters entitlement reform budgets move center stage into the compromise on universal gun background checks what was your take on that well it’s still a mystery to be discovered as to live had to me got involved in this he talked a little bit about it in a conference call with Pennsylvania reporters the day that he announced the agreement but basically said he saw it as an opportunity it’s not his his bailiwick it’s not in the area that he works in but he saw this as an opportunity and he’s not been afraid to to get involved in high-profile issues in the past well that’s true the other thing about the senator that I think has not been well understood is he’s tried to reach across the aisle on a number of occasions you know he did his own budget it had actually some revenues in it you know revenue increases Republicans or we don’t go way he’s worked as Senator Schumer on some other things and with his own you know with our other senator Casey so in some ways the compromise aspect of it when he can doesn’t seem completely out of out of line out of context at you know it seems more like the Pat Toomey maybe I’m wrong about that what’s your take on it well it’s conservative credentials are or rock solid yeah I mean probably the biggest budget Hawk in in the Senate endorsed by the NRA and they’ve always endorsing in races considered I think one of the foremost conservative senators in in Congress but you have to remember where Pat Toomey is from how he got into politics he served in a in a blue congressional district and so his his politics and his ability to to maneuver in these waters is I think much deeper than people give him credit for yeah that’s a great point i mean yeah he needs his we’re debating now whether what senator Toomey has done will help her hurt him when he runs for reelection in 2016 the only one by two percentage points as you know you were around you covered that race i mean he he has to do well in the eastern part of the state up in the Lehigh Valley where he served and in the philly suburbs but he then also has to worry about quote his base thank you so do you think the real problem for him would be with this vote you first of all do you think it’s going to be a problem for 2016 I think there’s some potential but the the biggest factor is there’s a lot of time between now and then 2016 a lot of water is going to flow into the bridge between now and then they’re going to be people who remember and I know there are certainly some gun rights proponents in the state that are very very disappointed right now vehement I mean foaming at the mouth something they feel like they’ve elected Arlen Specter again and they won’t forget but it was interesting to me that that Edwin del was one of the people that was singing his praises when word of this negotiation leaked he gotta think in a rally in Philadelphia with Mayor Nutter and said look stand your ground you know we’ve got your back which is an interesting thing for somebody like Edwin daily the translation we’re going to give you how up in Philadelphia in the philly suburbs is that the translation there maybe not as publicly but certainly pat toomey somebody that that Edwin Dale respects and appreciates and he’s been effusive in his praise of to me on numerous occasions the motives here I mean it would my sense is that to me just doesn’t I mean they’re all political every there’s not a decision they make that they don’t go through a political calculus but my sense about this and tell me what you think about this relies the question do you think that it was purely political or do you think he

really thinks this is the right way to go I think it’s both which is really the ideal thing you want an elected official you want them to be able to understand the landscape in which they’re operating in but you also want them to recognize the importance of the issues in front of them and be willing to take a stand even when it’s not popular with some segments of their constituents yeah that’s true I guess the real question is you know as you point out 2016 is of is in political terms almost four years away right for years lot can happen but if he were to be challenged it would probably be more importantly in a Republican primary over that although I mean that that’s like debating who’s going to be the nominees for president and to you know in two thousand we’re already we just finished one election already moving on to their but would you say that would be his biggest fear that somebody will come after him on the right I wouldn’t be surprised if some candidate is sort of ginned up for that part of the base to run but I would find it very difficult particularly with the national profile that he’s developed he’s got a massive reputation now not just among National Republican but he’s a fiscal conservative too I he’s got served on that issue that’s where I said most Republicans are right right all right we come back I’m going to ask I’m going to talk to Robert about a the big news Allyson Schwartz the fourth Democrat to file to run against governor corbett the list is like endless we could stay here for two hours and talk about the possibilities we’ll be back with Robert Vickers following these words this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the Pennsylvania chamber of business and industry the statewide voice of business and by the Pennsylvania business council Education Foundation educating citizens and business leaders about important public policy issues and civic affairs this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by better safer roads calm to voice your support for safer highways and less traffic congestion visit better safer roads calm and by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association business in Pennsylvania is our business I welcome back to the program well in the past week now we have a fourth entry into the Democratic nomination field for governor Allyson Schwartz a congresswoman from the 13th congressional district in Philadelphia filed papers you know to it you can now raise money officially and it’s sort of the formal announcement that you’re a candidate for governor the fourth I tell you what that is big news talk they tell our audience tell our viewers a little bit about Alison it’s kind of a surprise given what she had done in Congress right well it is but everyone says that Allyson Schwartz is very ambitious for a long time it was believed that she was eyeing a run against Pat Toomey right but I think probably she sees this as a as an opportunity unique and a unique time to seize it she’s absolutely put together in these early stages probably the best organization of anybody that’s in the race or plans to get in the race and it’s always a good indicator when you see where the talent in the political campaign community is drawn to a particular candidate that’s always an indication of where people think the wind is blowing yeah I’m cheap in Congress for what something like 10 terms she served in the state Senate pretty liberal does have some connections with business given a woman and we saw what happened with Kathleen Kane and the Attorney General’s race where she led to ticket talk a little bit about some of the other advantages and then we’ll talk about some of the potential good organization fundraiser absolutely uh she a high-profile position with the the Democratic Congressional Committee on campaign committee I think it was co-chair of the Finance Committee so she’s got national connections in democratic fundraising circles not only is she close with President Barack Obama making I think over 100 appearances for him in the state or in the campaign she’s also very close to the Clintons and if you can imagine her being able to get into a general election and being able to get Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton to come in town sylvania that would be a massive four Emmy ka well Bill Clinton especially very popular in his State and Clinton as I think most of our folks note defeated Obama in the primary campaign so they good point now the Deathly on the downside it could

conceivably be that she’s liberal also ran a health care clinic that provided abortion and it’s one thing maybe to beef pro choice but to actually run some company you know a healthcare organization that provided abortion that will certainly be a problematic for her when you say outside of the philly suburbs in the other parts of the state it’s certainly something that that critics or Republicans or people that are looking at the race throw up quickly her people seem to feel that they’ve got an answer for it and we’ll just have to see how it plays out but it certainly is up to the voters and it’s at a time when female candidates have been elevated and there’s an interest and female candidates any statewide now in a Democratic primary I don’t think you I don’t think that would be a particular negative to you in a Democratic primary no but there’s also the the likelihood that there’ll be another woman in the race Kathleen McGinty the former dep secretary has has told me this week County Valley a lot of folks from my Eric Democrats running for governor she’s in the race she’s was in Harrisburg earlier in the week of lining up support talking to people glad-handing folks that she was walking down the street so that will be an interesting dynamic with two women in that race Kathleen McGinty when she was secretary secretary was a frequent guest on this program she’s very articulate very mart work for Clinton work for Gore will also but it’s a crowded field in it let’s take a sweep we’ve got perhaps nine candidates potential candidates do you think this is as wide open a Democratic field as we’ve probably had in recent years almost certainly and you know there was a lot of talk in the previous months about trying to clear to feel a little bit or now the field down and that seems to only have drawn more to immigrants into the race yeah there are a lot of people very interested on the Democratic side and getting in this race because they feel that the blood is in the order that Tom court the governor is very vulnerable and the poll numbers suggest that and they want to be in a position to to seize on it if his trajectory continues damn it also may come down to money Tom Wolfe a York businessman announced a couple of weeks ago he pledged 10 million bucks rob mccord the state treasurer certainly you know has been elected twice we have another dep secretary John hanger I mean I don’t typically second terms for governors or a cakewalk with one exception a cakewalk this year I I think next year we’re in for a very competitive election cycle maybe both in a primary in a general election is that fair competitive close absolutely i mean there could be a primary challenge for the governor potentially and the Republican Party in Pennsylvania has already pledged to raise between 30 and 40 million dollars it’s going to be a nasty general election yeah I think you’re right all right a great update thanks for coming in all right when we return we’re getting various views now on the liquor privatization we’re going to hear from Kevin Chivers he represents the National Federation of Independent Business we’re going to get their point of view on it all of that following these words this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by Pennsylvania credit union Association Pennsylvania credit unions where people are worth more than money to find a credit union that is right for you check out I belong o RG and by the Energy Association of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania’s energy information source this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the state system of higher education 14 state-owned universities the state system is the largest provider of higher education in Pennsylvania and by the hospital and health system Association of Pennsylvania working towards a healthy Pennsylvania I welcome back to the program Oh Kevin Chivers joins me he’s the pennsylvania state director for the National Federation of Independent Business they represent about 15,000 small businesses in the state among them are beer distributors I want to talk to kevin about that but here’s a stage set the stage House passes a bill complete privatization of liquor in the state the bills now in the Senate it’s very controversial is all kinds of sides and parts that angles to it we’ve been running a series of programs on it hearing from both sides of the issue Kevin welcome thank you very much for having me alright let’s talk about liquor privatization from your your point of view you represent beer distributors is that correct that’s

correct i represent small and independent businesses in pennsylvania includes taverns restaurants tribute errs small grocery stores convenience stores and now when this bill came out of the house when it was being considered in the house i read different reports from various folks on you know in the area that you represent that had problems with different features of it go through and highlight some of the major points in the bill that you either like or don’t like relative to tavern owners and distributors talk talk about that sure you know the reason we’re talking about privatization right now is because of the jaw-dropping mismanagement by the State Liquor Control Board but there have been recent Court decisions in Pennsylvania that allow grocery stores and some convenience stores with restaurant licenses to be able to sell beer for the small distributors that’s a real problem because you know they’re a destination you know you know people can go to these stores to buy cases of beer but state law I mean this is a prohibition you’re a law that prevents these distributors from selling anything less case so you have to go to a tavern or somewhere else for a six pack or something smaller so if we did nothing we’re going to see the demise of the state mom and pop state distributor as we know it about 1200 a there about eleven hundred of them in the state there are about a hundred and twenty licenses right now that grocery stores and convenience stores have to sell beer but they’re estimating in five years i’m hearing the number as high as a thousand of those licenses let me get this straight so distributors can sell a case they can’t sell it in smaller units taverns and and and other retail outlets can sell six packs but can’t sell a case though I have a restaurant license in a grocery store or convenience store if you’re a tavern you can sell six packs you can’t sell units larger than that now under the bill as a pest in the house taverns and beer distributors would be able to sell wine is that correct and how about we never call it hard liquor we call it spirits I love I don’t know where we got that nail it’s a prohibition you’re a loss here it’s okay well you know the bill that passed the house gives small beer distributors the chance to compete because they’re still going to be a destination they’re going to be the only place in Pennsylvania where you can buy liquor beer and wine so if you have a party at your home and you want to buy a bottle of rum or a nice bottle of wine or you want to buy beer you can actually go to the distributor to do that they’re the only ones that will have that ability to do that so we’re still making them a destination and it’s going to give them an opportunity to compete under the current bill you think beer distributors are happy under the proposal that’s in in the Senate right now some distributors are happy some do you know the biggest goal that nfib had was we want to have we want to give an opportunity for business people to make a business decision do I want to stay in business do I have value so that if I want to retire from my business I can sell it and turn a profit after a life’s effort in that business or do I have the ability to compete and actually run and grow my business and we think that the bill that passed the house gives them an opportunity now the Senate has said they want to make some changes and we’re going to watch those really closely Terry because we have real concerns if you’d make certain tweaks you could actually ruin this opportunity for small businesses and just open it wide up to the big box stores and really make the environment in Pennsylvania uncompetitive we’re going to run to a break we Quebec I want to it we talked about the beer distributors I want to talk about the small tavern owners how you know they might be affected in some of the other retail outlets by the current bill and what proposals we could see out of the state Senate will do that after talking about money we pay some bills this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by Highmark Blue Shield changing the way health plans work for business with a variety of plan options for employers and more choices for employees information is available at highmark com have a greater hand in your company sell and buy the pennsylvania health care association the future of long-term care welcome back with Kevin Chivers you’re talking about liquor privatization it’s it’s you know there’s hearings I think are going to start very shortly in the state Senate bill passed the state house as I pointed out it’s a complete privatization bill as out of the house it’s now in the Senate where they could do some modern is eight what they call modernization change some features of it but Kevin I want to I want to go back to the point I made before the break it

seems that beer distributors on the one hand and the tavern owners and other retail outlets have different perspectives on this each sorta so how does the current bill affect the the small you know the tavern owners they can’t sell a case and restaurants and others how would that make a difference in their lives well you know the number one rule in a successful business is location location location and you know one of the goals of the taverns I know the distributors that are members of NFIB is how can we continue to be a destination you know if a grocery store can sell beer or wine well that makes it more convenient for a custom consumer to just get their groceries pick up a bottle of wine maybe some beer go home why are there reasons for people to come to these taverns and distributors and that’s one of the concerns that we have going forward as this legislation evolved was what can we do to make sure that these small businesses still our destinations you know we’re talking about a prohibition-era law that prevented them from actually growing and expanding so for taverns you’re a destination you’re going to go there to watch a sporting event or maybe done you know some important you know family activity or frankly out with friends but now you’re going to have the opportunity to buy a bottle of wine and until you go there your point is you go there you sit down you have a bite to eat and you want to buy a six-pack of beer you want to buy a bottle of wine it’s that convenient for you that’s exactly right so there’s still a reason there’s still a need as a destination now the challenge with a distributor on the other hand is all they have is beer and state law prevents them from selling anything other than things like slim jims and made a chip now so under the new law they’re going to have an ability at a very reasonable price to be able to purchase those licenses to sell wine and spirits they make against a liar e-tickets come on now that’s a reason to go there absolutely yes well now it will be a true party store or or really in all seriousness a package to my god i want to ask you about the debate over the big box stores and you know they’ve i noticed now where some of the conventional stores like pennies and kmart don’t seem to be doing as well probably get lots of email about that saying i’m wrong about that but you know some of these bigger box stores have you know literally up the ante it what would be your concern about expansion of alcohol if any i’m sure you have some that’s why i’m asking the question into the big box stores well i think you know small business owners fear government mandates and policies more than they do competition from larger private sector businesses you know a small business owner they’ve been dealing with you know private sector competition from the big box stores for years you don’t think it’s much of a big deal that makes them work harder i tell you what i was attending a conference in Tallahassee and i went to visit a small distribute you know they have you know wine and liquor and beer you combine wall marks down in Tallahassee I mean and Walmart is the big store and yet this one small distributor he was the largest seller of spirits in Tallahassee and I and I asked them why and he said one is location number two its inventory management putting stuff on your shelves that consumers want he said I might not have you know some of the more common beer products or the certain types of liquor on my shelves but I have the stuff that people want it’s a niche and people come here thanks for coming in and getting your organization’s point of view I appreciate it all right we’ll see you next week for another edition of Pennsylvania newsmakers and as always you stay well