Eye On Boise

MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2012, 2:40 P.M.

Reagan Republicans say they’ll file their own liquor privatization initiative

The "Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans," an expanded version of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans group that's intending to go statewide, announced today that it plans to submit its own proposed initiative to privatize liquor sales in Idaho, separate from an effort that's been in the works by the Northwest Grocery Association, who've been exploring an initiative of their own; they're the group that sponsored the successful measure to privatize liquor sales in the state of Washington.

Jeff Ward, president of the Reagan Republicans, said in a statement that his group's initiative is "a conservative effort to reduce the size and scope of government and to free each Idahoan from being in the liquor business." He said it would take effect July 1, 2013, if it made the November 2012 ballot and voters approved it. As of 3:30 this afternoon, the Idaho Secretary of State's office hadn't yet received anything from the group; click below to read the group's full statement.

For Immediate Release

January 23, 2012


Group Submits Liquor Privatization Initiative


Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans submits a Proposed Initiative to Privatize Retail Liquor Sales to the Idaho Secretary of State for Review


BOISE — January 23, 2012 — Today, the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans will submit, to the Idaho Secretary of State, a citizen’s initiative to privatize liquor sales in Idaho and eliminate the Idaho Liquor Division. A draft copy of the proposed initiative petition must be filed at the Secretary of State’s office with the signatures of twenty qualified electors of the state as specified by Idaho Code 34-1804.  Upon submission, the proposed initiative must be forwarded to the Idaho Attorney General who has twenty days to provide recommended changes.

IFRR President Jeff Ward announced that the initiative is an effort solely by his organization and no trade organizations or potential retailers were involved or consulted in the draft initiative. Ward emphasized “It was important to us that this initiative is written in regards to the proper role of government, not who would benefit by the privatization of liquor sales.” Ward describes the initiative as a conservative effort to reduce the size and scope of government and to free each Idahoan from “being in the liquor business.”  Ward encouraged all Idaho citizens, organizations and businesses to support putting the initiative on the ballot so “the people can decide if they want continue, through their state government, to sell alcohol.”

The draft initiative eliminates the Idaho Liquor Division and creates licenses for private liquor retailers. It gives the Idaho Legislature latitude and time to recoup lost revenue with liquor taxes and fees and specifies continued funding of programs currently funded by liquor revenue. The initiative also empowers Idaho counties to control hours, locations and square-footage requirements of private liquor stores. If placed on the ballot and passed it would take effect July 1. 2013.

According to Idaho Code, upon the Attorney General’s review and approval of the initiative format, the IFRR will have until April 30, 2012 to submit the petitions signed by 6% of the registered voters at the last election (or 47,432 signatures,) to be placed on the November General Election ballot.

The initiative is the first state-wide effort by the new Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans, a statewide organization founded by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. KCRR is a Republican activist organization that has been highly effective in helping elect Republican candidates. In 2011, 12 of the 15 candidates endorsed by KCRR won in Kootenai County including the defeat of 4 incumbents and winning 3 open seats.  The Reagan Republicans hope to continue their success with the gathering signature and passing the Liquor Privatization Initiative.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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