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Judge Upholds Liquor Sales Initiative 1183 Enabling Liquor to Be Sold in Stores June 1

Judge Warning reverses previous ruling

LONGVIEW, Wash.

 Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning today reversed his March 2 ruling and upheld Initiative 1183, allowing the state to continue to implement the liquor sales initiative approved by nearly 60 percent of the state’s voters.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Mary Tennyson and Assistant Attorney General Bruce Turcott defended the initiative on behalf of the state of Washington.

“Washington voters said they supported privatizing liquor sales in our state and directing $10 million of the proceeds from those sales to enhanced public safety. Today’s court ruling allows the state to continue to work to implement their directive,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Congratulations to Senior Assistant Attorney General Mary Tennyson, Assistant AG Bruce Turcott and their outstanding legal team for their stellar work in defending the will of the people.”

In Judge Warning’s earlier ruling, he found the initiative violated a state rule prohibiting initiatives from addressing more than one subject—also known as the “single-subject” rule—because it included the section directing $10 million of the liquor revolving fund proceeds to public safety.

The state argued the source of funds and how the funds are allocated are closely connected – and therefore the section did not violate the rule.

In his decision today, Judge Warning agreed with the state.

Stores of at least 10,000 square feet will be able to start selling liquor by June 1, thanks to Initiative 1183 that was heavily bankrolled by Costco. State liquor stores are slated to close by the end of May, at the cost of 14 jobs.

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