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WA Lege Day 80: Senate gives OK to liquor sampling

OLYMPIA -- The Senate approved a plan to allow liquor sampling in a handful of state liquor stores as a test program.

By a 31-17 vote, the Senate approved an amended version of HB 1202, which would allow 30 state liquor stores to set up sampling programs of distilled spirits, similar to wine sampling at some state stores and wine shops.

Samplers would get up to four quarter-ounce samples of whiskey or other distilled liquors. They'd have to be at least 21 (duh). The pilot program would last from this September to September 2012.

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, spoke against it, warning of expansion of the state's liquor monopoly: "A creep...of the state liquor monopoly into what private industry should be doing."

The bill now goes back to the House, which approved a slightly different version.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.