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Spin Control

Posts tagged: state liquor monopoly

Links to the court ruling on I-1183

OLYMPIA — The state Supreme Court upheld Initiative 1183, a.k.a. get the state out of the booze business, on a 5-4 vote. (Here's a link to today's story.)

Or maybe it's better described a 5-3-1 vote, because Justice Tom Chambers disagreed with the majority on some points, but agreed with them on others.

For those who were worried that the court was going to throw a monkey wrench in plans to rush to your favorite discount store and stock up on cheap booze, here's the reason why the changeover to private liquor stores will proceed on schedule:

Justice Steven Gonzalez's majority opinion, signed by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and Justices Susan Owens, James Johnson and Debra Stephens,  can be found here.

Justice Charlie Wiggins' dissent, signed by Justices Charles Johnson and Mary Fairhurst, can be found here.

Justice Chambers' half and half, where he agrees that voters might've been hoodwinked by calling taxes fees, but agrees with the majority on some other things, can be found here.

As always, feel free to comment on what you think about I-1183, or the court's decision, by clicking here.

Union files suit to block liquor initiative

OLYMPIA — A union that represents some of the workers who will lose their jobs at state liquor stores is suing to block Initiative 1183, which will begin dismantling the state control of liquor sales next year.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 sued today in King County, saying I-1183 violates a state requirement that an initiative have only one subject. The ballot measure had more than that, the union contends: privatizing the state liquor system, changing laws for selling and distributing wine, changing the ability of the Liquor Control Board to regulate alcohol advertising; and creating new franchise protections for spirits distributors.

The union contends the initiative's sponsor, Costco, focused on the issue of privatizing the state system with its record advertising campaign and avoided the other points, which are designed to benefit the retail giant.

Costco may have spent the big bucks to get the initiative passed, but state taxpayers will pay the cost of defending it.

State law says the Attorney General's office defends an initiative the voters approve. Dan Sytman, a spokesman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said the office “will vigorously defend this initiative” like other state laws.

Big bucks for booze: Costco donation breaks record

OLYMPIA – In an effort to get voters to end the state's liquor monopoly, Costco this week made the largest contribution in history – nearly $9 million – to a state ballot campaign.

The discount retail giant based in Issaquah, Wash., nearly doubled down on its contributions this year to the Yes on Initiative 1183 campaign, on which it had already spent more than $12 million through cash contributions and in-kind services such as employee time for gathering signatures in less than a month to get the proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot…

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.
  

Special Session Day 8: State liquor under microscope

OLYMPIA — The Senate returns today from a long weekend to caucuses in the morning and a Ways and Means Committee hearing in the afternoon.

The committee has a recently added bill, one that calls for a study of best way to lease the state's liquor distribution system and pull in some cash to the state coffers.

Readers with good memories might recall that the House budget called for selling or leasing the liquor distribution system and pulling in $300 million for the cash-strapped general fund. But that figure was questioned by many as too high, or at least not bankable for budget purposes.

Still the idea for getting the state out of liquor distribution persists, a corollary of the perennial cry to get the state out of the liquor business, period. This morning Ways and Means added a hearing on a new bill to study various ways to lease out the distribution system and give the Liquor Control Board direction on which — if any — make the best economic sense.

Also on Ways and Means agenda is a vote on a bill to end the low-income property tax deferral program, and to expand family planning services.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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