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Costco Payback? Bill would block “certain membership organizations” from getting liquor sales licenses once Initiative 1183 takes effect

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Jan. 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
January 13, 2012 5:39 pm

Looks like some folks are still a little miffed at the passage of Initiative 1183 that will end the state’s control over the distribution and sale of hard liquor.

House Bill 2426 would prohibit membership retail stores that sell in bulk from getting booze licenses. While it might cover more than one such chain, it definitely would cover Costco. That just happens to the be company that created and bankrolled the initiative, spending a record $20 million.

The bill is sponsored by three Democratic House members - Sam Hunt of Olympia, Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo and Timm Ormsby of Spokane.

And it might be simply a message bill, not intended to pass but to let Costco know they made some lawmakers unhappy.

AN ACT Relating to prohibiting the issuance of spirits retail licenses to certain membership organizations; adding a new section to chapter 66.24 RCW; and creating a new section. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that buying in bulk and in supersized packaging, a pattern of activity that is promoted and encouraged by membership organizations, increases abusive consumption.

In order to protect the public interest, advance public safety, and prevent abusive consumption of spirits, the Washington state liquor control board is explicitly prohibited from issuing spirits retail licenses to certain membership organizations.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 66.24 RCW to read as follows: No spirits retail license may be issued to a grocery store licensee that is a membership organization that requires members to be at least eighteen years of age.

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