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Costco liquor sales a short-lived target of Legislature

Costco spent a record $22 million to support voter-approved I-1183 in November. That was the initiative that privatized liquor sales and would allow stores to sell liquor. (AP Photo/File)

A lawmaker from Olympia introduced a bill on Friday that would prevent membership clubs like Costco from selling liquor.

Costco spent a record $22 million to support voter-approved I-1183 in November. That was the initiative that privatized liquor sales and would allow stores to sell liquor.

Representative Sam Hunt is the chief sponsor of HB 2426 the bill that reads "the legislature finds that buying in bulk six and in supersized packaging, a pattern of activity that is promoted and even encouraged by membership organizations, increases abusive consumption."

A co-sponsor, Representative Sherry Appleton, withdrew her support less than a day after the bill was introduced.

Not long after it was introduced, the bill was considered "no longer viable."

Representative Sam Hunt floated the bill to send a message. "I introduced it knowing it would never pass," Hunt said. He never even intended it to get a hearing, and he runs the committee it would have been before.

He said he was upset over how Costco was able to drive the I-1183 debate. "I happen to believe that we have a citizen's initiative process in this state, and the initiative process was developed for citizen action not for big corporations and companies to go buy elections."

Representative Hunt calls this a message bill. "I knew I was swimming upstream here," he said. "I was just pretty angry about the whole thing. I said, 'I'm at least going to throw something down that shows how upset I am at the way they, I would say, abused the initiative process."

Costco has not returned our calls for comment.

About the Author


Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic.

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