On Friday, Josh reported that an initiative was field with the Secretary of State's office that would privatize the sale of liquor in Washington state. Actually, there were two filed by a Taekja Moon Song of Redmond, here they are:
Liquor Sale Privatization Initiative 1
Liquor Sale Privatization Initiative 2
Both initiatives kick the state of the actual business of selling liquor, Liquor Sale Privatization Initiative 1 goes one step further by lifting control the state has over price markup, wholesaling and warehousing of liquor. Initiative 2 looks much more like legislation floated during this legislation session, which left much of the state's ability to control the price of liquor in place.
The first new section added to the RCW in both versions reads, "In order to strengthen the agency (Liquor Control Board) to more effectively educate the public, combat abuse, collect tax revenue and enforce state liquor laws, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will stop selling liquor and end its Prohibition-era monopoly on selling distilled spirits."
The new legislation would also allow a "craft distillery" to sell spirits (up to two liters) to an individual from their place of business, just like microbreweries sell beer now.
We're still playing phone tag with the Modernize Washington Campaign, Song's group, but the UFCW 21 (the union that currently represents state liquor store workers) issued a statement against the pending initiative.
After pointing out that liquor sales are worth $300,000 to the state and that Washington state's compliance rate on no-sale to minors is 94 percent compared to the 75 percent rate in states with privatized sales, UFCW spokesman Tom Geiger says, "We will actively work with health and safety advocates and others to make sure that the public is made fully aware of the dangers to the public safety posed by making liquor available in neighborhood grocery and convenience stores.”
Footnote about Modernize Washington: The call back came from Sharon Gilpin, a former Dino Rossi consulant who was also active in the Rossi recount effort.
There's also another initiative in the works from a second group.