No Emergency Stay of I-1183. Implementation Continues while WA S.Ct Readies to Hear Appeal

Sorry about the very brief post here.    A Washington State Supreme Court Commissioner has chosen not to grant an injunction against the state for implementation.   Next step, the full Supreme Court of Washington State. Here is his opinion denying the request.  The final lap of this long race will now be before the full Washington Supreme Court with oral argument on May 17, 2012.  The state has a June 1 deadline to turn over control of the state stores under the initiative.

(previous post) Judge Rules Two Seperate Initiatives Within I-1183.  Future Uncertain

Although I-1183 passed in November, its fate will not be known until the Washington Supreme Court rules on this issue.

One of the two lawsuits filed had an important day on Friday when Cowlitz County Judge Stephen Warning ruled that I-1183 had two seperate initatives within it.  The court noted that section 302 of I-1183 violated the single subject rule. Washington case law is clear that the only remedy where there is more than one subject in an initiative is to void the entire initative. A copy of the decision is here.

The court has scheduled another hearing on the issue of severability; whether I-1183 without the funding for public safety funding component in section 302 would still have passed.   Not sure how anyone can discern what people were thinking when they passed this so this will be an interesting hearing.

The King County case was put on hold pending the Cowlitz County case but the urgency to get this to the Washington Supreme Court will only increase.  Here is a link to a Seattle P-I article about the hearing.

Earlier Post-   Motions for Summary Judgement in I-1183 Litigation- Cowlitz County

The Challenges to Costco may take most of the first 6 months before reaching the Washington Supreme Court.   Not sure if they will get the case before the state is ordered out of business on June 1, 2012.

There are updates in one of the matters.  The Cowlitz County case filed by the retailers and public health groups have had motions for summary judgement filed by the state and by the Costco intervenors and the plaintiffs have filed their opposition to this motion.

Both sides disagree on what I-1183 does.   The Defendants state that the voters were well informed and there are no violations of the single subject rule.  The Plaintiffs point out that I-1183 imposes new taxes, substantially changes the wine distribution laws; changes the rules for alcohol pricing and advertising, and perhaps most seriously, points out that the initiative eliminates  “the fundamental state policy of moderation in alcohol consumption”

(Updates in I-1183 Litigation)

I’m having a bad computer day and cannot upload some documents but there have been a bunch of things going on in Washington state.   Apparently, Costco, the Northwest Grocery Association, the Yes on I-1183 campaign,  Costco counsel John McKay, and others have moved to intervene in these cases.

Also, there was a hearing today on the preliminary injunction in Cowlitz County.  The judge did not grant the PI and apparently did not deny on basis of probability of success on the merits.

Sorry for the non linkable information.

(Earlier Post) Second Lawsuit Filed Against Recently Passed I-1183 by Retailers and Public Health Officials

A second lawsuit was filed in Cowlitz County against the recently passed I-1183. Interestingly, Cowlitz County was one of the five Washington counties that voted against I-1183.   This complaint was filed by a retailer, an landlord for a state liquor store and the Washington Association for the Prevention of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention.  They also filed a motion for preliminary injunction (which for some reason is too large to be uploaded to this site right now) and a hearing date on the injunction could be as soon as next week.

(Earlier Post)    Litigation Filed in Washington State Challenging Recently Passed I-1183

 Teamsters Local 174 and the United Food And Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 have filed a lawsuit challenging the initative passed in Washington state.   The complaint can be found here.   I-1183 was a proposal funded mostly by the Costco Corporation which is based in Washington.  A list of Costco’s contributions for I-1183 can be found here.  By my guesstimation Costco has spent nearly $35 million over the past 10 years trying to rewrite Washington state liquor laws.   I-1183 won with over 58% of the vote.

The nuances of Washington state law and their court’s ultimate interpretation of their  “single subject” law is above my pay grade.    I do note that this initiative was indeed boldly written and as a result it does cover many various subjects from “getting state out of the liquor business” to “deregualting wine distribution” to “creating a new marketplace for large retailers” to “a new taxing and revenue scheme” to “state aid to local governments” as a few of the many topics.  Costco will argue they are all related.  The Unions and others will note that this is classic “logrolling”  and a purposeful attempt to try to hide things behind a bigger concept.    We’ll have more as this develops.

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