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Wash. Supreme Court to hear I-1183 challenge

OLYMPIA — The Washington Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today over the constitutionality of a voter-approved initiative privatizing liquor sales.

At issue is whether the initiative violates state rules requiring measures to address only one subject, because it includes a provision to set aside $10 million for public safety.

A Cowlitz County judge in March upheld the initiative, but opponents appealed that ruling directly to the Supreme Court.

The initiative takes effect June 1. The Washington Liquor Control Board has already auctioned off the rights to sell liquor at its state-run stores.

Voters approved Initiative 1183 last fall to dismantle the state-run liquor system that’s been in place since the 1930s. The measure allows stores larger than 10,000 square feet to sell liquor, with some exceptions.

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