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Tag: liquor stores


Liquor Control Board proposes 20-mile buffer for small liquor stores

UPDATED 1:30 p.m.

During the 2011 campaign for state liquor privatization, supporters said it would keep liquor out of gas stations, mini-marts and convenience stores. But opponents called voters’ attention to what they called the “mini-mart loophole.” More than 900 small outlets could pop up under that loophole, they claimed, including in places like Seattle and Tacoma.


As we pointed out at the time, both were exaggerations, but opponents in particular were essentially making up facts. Their conclusion was based on guesswork about what the Liquor Control Board would do.

Today, more than a year later, the liquor board revealed what it

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Judge reverses ruling, upholds liquor privatization

A Cowlitz County judge today reversed his earlier ruling and upheld the liquor-privatization initiative.

The issue was whether the 2011 ballot measure illegally dealt with more than one subject by diverting an extra $10 million in liquor revenue to local governments for public safety programs. Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office argued the topics are closely connected, and says the judge agreed.

The state will continue to implement privatization while opponents appeal to the state Supreme Court, according to news reports. Here’s the Times’ Melissa Allison’s report from the courtroom. And here’s coverage by the AP’s Shannon Dininny, who notes that

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Alcohol distributors spend against Costco liquor-privatization initiative

The group fighting Costco’s liquor-privatization initiative looks like it has found a benefactor.

The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America contributed more than $3.6 million this month to the political committee opposing Initiative 1183.

The D.C.-based trade group for distributors released this statement:

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America opposes I-1183 because that measure is designed to disable an effective regulatory structure that balances consumer demand with appropriate control over the distribution of alcohol and the licensed players in the Washington state market. A similarly ill-considered deregulatory initiative backed by Costco was rejected just last year, but they have chosen to ignore the message delivered by the citizens of that state and their elected representatives who drafted legislation to allow for limited privatization while maintaining strong regulatory control.

Alcohol distributors were also the main checkbook fighting last year’s Costco-backed initiative, but most of the money came from the beer industry — which also opposes this one, but hasn’t spent money against it.

Authors of this year’s initiative say it was carefully drawn to avoid affecting beer. But it does allow wineries to bypass distributors and sell directly to restaurants or retailers like Costco, a provision that has drawn support from a group of local wineries but opposition from the distributors.

Here’s what the supporters say about those provisions: Read more »


Voters will see liquor-warehousing bid before deciding on privatization

Just before the Nov. 8 election to decide whether Washington should privatize its liquor stores, voters will learn how much the state might be able to save from a competing proposal.

First, about that alternative proposal. It’s the idea of leasing out the state’s liquor warehouse and distribution system. State lawmakers today will review the proposed requirements for companies bidding on the lease, as drawn up by Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget office.

You can comment. See the proposed Request for Proposals at www.ofm.wa.gov/rfp/default.asp and then e-mail RFP.Comments@ofm.wa.gov by Thursday or attend today’s public hearing of the House Ways and

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Liquor privatization headed toward ballot

Washington voters are all but certain to be asked for a second year in a row to close all state liquor stores and let private companies sell booze.

The Initiative 1183 campaign hauled boxes of petitions into state elections headquarters this morning, saying they had signed more than 354,300 supporters in less than three weeks. Officials will count to make sure they have at least the 241,000 valid signatures needed for the November ballot.

Some 150,000 of the signatures came just from customers of Costco, which has carried the campaign on its back with $950,000 worth of contributions.

Voters rejected

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Morning update: Day 38

Good morning on Day 38 of the 60-day legislative session. Coming up today:

  • The House will convene to pick up the debate on Initiative 960 that Republicans pushed long into last night in an unsuccessful attempt to postpone the initiative’s suspension. House members are likely to vote today, one of the last steps needed before Democrats can take up ideas for tax increases. Gov. Chris Gregoire may propose a tax package soon.
  • For more on the bills that died or stayed alive by Tuesday’s deadline, check out our roundup. Go here for the TNT version or here

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