Private Liquor Looks Safe, After Judge Upholds Initiative

Private liquor is coming June 1 - affirms Judge.


Well, it continues to look like June 1 will be L-Day in Washington. Liquor privatization will go into effect in just over two months, thanks to the decision made by a Cowlitz County Superior Court judge this week.


A few months back I discussed two lawsuits that had been filed by public interest groups who opposed the 2011 passage of I-1183. But in January, a judge sided with proponents who wanted to intervene in one of the actions, adding much needed support for the I-1183 team.


Now it appears that implementation will go into effect on time, thanks to yesterday’s Cowlitz County ruling. Judge Stephen Warning had previously decided that the Initiative embraced two separate subjects, in violation of the state constitution. The concepts of regulating both alcohol and public safety were initially deemed separate, but Judge Warning reversed his stance to say that he was wrong and that the two have long been intrinsically intertwined.


In offering his new opinion, Judge Warning grants the State’s Motion for Summary Judgment. This means that private liquor will continue on towards implementation in June. In the meantime, the Plaintiffs, Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, will appeal directly to the State Supreme Court.


While all of this was on-going, the state has already begun auctioning off its liquor stores. The auction will close on April 19, when they hope to have all vendors in place.


Stay tuned for more information on the impending appeal.



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TTB Continues Impressive Streamlining of Its Procedures

Labeling submission requirements are seeing changes.


Back in September, I mentioned that the TTB had decided to try and cut the fat from its existing COLA procedures. My article discussed one of their efforts, a reduction of the personalized label submission requirements. But the TTB has been streamlining its procedures elsewhere.


Thanks to the good people at BevLog (a must follow alcoholic beverage law blog),  I was able to get my hands on a recent post by the TTB. The post describes their entire Certificate of Label Approval Streamlining Efforts, including both those already accomplished and those in the pipeline.


BevLog has so kindly PDF’d the webpage and provided it on their own site for your viewing. But here is a rundown of some of the important changes that might make your label submission duties a bit less burdensome:


  • New e-mail suggestion box
  • No longer reviewing labels for type size and other image file-related concerns
  • The aforementioned personalized label reduction
  • Implementation of Formulas Online (helps to simplify sample/formula submissions)
  • New website FAQ
  • More public disclosures of processing time


In the pipeline are these initiatives:


  • comprehensive revision of labeling regulations
  • changes to COLA Online
  • paper and online applications will be processed online
  • new forms


Stay tuned for more news on these long term changes. Many of those changes may require some additional training on your part.



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