HARRISBURG - Yes to more six-packs of beer on retail shelves. No to pension reform.

That was the state of play shortly before midnight Wednesday as the Republican-controlled legislature raced to push through key legislation before the end of its two-year session.

Senate GOP leaders, looking tired and exasperated, declared as officially dead a bill that would have made controversial changes to the state's debt-plagued pension funds.

"We are exposed," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre), who has championed the issue. "The taxpayers of Pennsylvania are exposed."

One proposal that got a final vote: a bill that would allow beer distributors to sell six-packs, growlers, and single cans of beer instead of being limited to cases, 12-packs, and kegs.

The measure also calls for an assortment of other changes, from allowing mead at farmer's markets to allowing hard liquor to be consumed at stadiums that already sell beer.

The Senate, which extended its session beyond 11 p.m., approved it in a 44-4 vote.

If Gov. Wolf signs it, it would mark another historic shift away from Pennsylvania's notoriously stringent liquor laws.

But the mood in the Capitol was grim as it became clear late in the evening that the legislators would be unable to deliver on a pension reform bill.

Any bill not approved and sent to Wolf before the end of the session will die and have to be reintroduced when the legislature reconvenes early next year.

At a news conference, Corman said he was told the House could not cobble together enough votes to approve the pension bill, and criticized Wolf for providing "zero votes" from his party to help get it across the legislative finish line.

"This governor provided zero - to me that's unprecedented, if he truly wanted it," Corman said.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R., Indiana) said the chamber was three votes shy of getting the 102 votes needed to approve it, and that all the support came from the GOP.

For his part, Wolf, a Democrat, has said he would support a "reasonable" pension reform plan, but never committed to the specific one the legislature was considering this week.

"Gov. Wolf has worked to try and reach a compromise agreement on comprehensive pension reform and the governor remains committed to achieving this," said Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan.

The pension proposal had called for new employees, starting in 2018, to select from three options, all requiring participation in varying levels of 401(k)-style plans. Current employees would have continued to be eligible for the traditional, and more generous, plan that calculates benefits based on years of service and top three years of salary.

State police and other law enforcement officials would have been exempt from the proposal, as would have been current legislators and judges. The proposed change would have applied only to newly elected legislators and judges.

The pension plan did not have any short-term savings, but was estimated to save the state and school districts $2.6 billion over 32 years.

Democrats had signaled strong opposition to it, saying it would cut retirement benefits, increase costs for school districts, and not cut the debt any faster.

Hanging in the balance Wednesday night was legislation that would impose harsher penalties for animal abuse.

"Libre's law," named for a Boston terrier puppy that made national headlines after being found sick and emaciated at a Lancaster County farm, would make it a third-degree felony to seriously injure a domestic animal or zoo animals.

The measure is before the House, which late Wednesday decided to add a voting day and will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The House on Thursday may also consider a controversial bill that would restrict public officials from releasing the name of police officers involved in deadly shootings or shootings resulting in serious injury.

Unlikely to survive the end-of-session cutoff was legislation to temporarily reinstate a mandate that casinos pay millions of dollars to their host communities - a requirement that had been struck down by the state's highest court.

Also unlikely to be brought up for a vote before session's end were several bills, including legislation that would: impose penalties on "sanctuary cities" that refuse to detain people suspected by federal immigration authorities of being in the country illegally; impose more restrictions on abortions; and make it more difficult for cities and municipalities to have stricter gun laws than those on state books.

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