Voters toast liquor initiative, shut down tolling measure

November 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Statewide ballot initiatives garnered the most attention in a campaign season dominated by local races.

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, passed Nov. 8, and liquor sales should start at the Issaquah-based warehouse giant and other retailers in June.

I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also requires the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, spent more than $20 million to promote the initiative.

Initiative 1125 — a measure to require the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission — came up short on Election Day.

King County voters rejected the measure, but I-1125 picked up support elsewhere in Washington.

King County Executive Dow Constantine declared victory against Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, as the measure led by a narrow margin statewide Nov. 9.

“I-1125 was a stealth effort to stop light rail on I-90 and delay replacement of the 520 bridge,” Constantine said in a statement. “I am grateful that so many voters saw through it and rejected it, and by an overwhelming margin in King County. Our voters, once again, said no to Tim Eyman.”

The other issues on the ballot did not attract as much attention as the liquor and tolling measures.

Washington voters approved Initiative 1163 — a measure sponsored by the Service Employees International Union to address homecare workers’ certification and training.

The electorate also approved the noncontroversial constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 addresses a residency requirement for presidential voting outlined in the state Constitution. The measure brings state law into synch with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Senate Joint Resolution 8206 called for the state “rainy day” reserve fund to require contribution of a portion of “extraordinary” revenue in the future.

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