For the past three weeks, large retailers across Washington State have been moving ahead in preparation to begin selling hard alcohol under Initiative 1183 that was passed by voters last year. In doing so, they have played a game of chicken of sorts because of legal challenges that could have partially or completely invalidated the law.

On Monday, the case against 1183 was once dealt a major setback in a decision by Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning to reverse his own March 2 ruling that had found a provision in the law for dedicated public safety funding to be unconstitutional because it violated the state’s single subject rule for ballot initiatives.

Warning reversed his own ruling after state attorneys successfully argued for a reconsideration of the earlier decision, according to The Associated Press report.

Although the attorney representing parties opposed to 1183 promised to appeal today’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, it seems more likely than ever that getting the state out of the liquor business will happen on schedule and just as voters directed.

“This hearing was “last call” for opponents of liquor sales privatization,” Mike Reitz, general counsel for the Freedom Foundation, told us this afternoon. “The challengers faced an uphill battle from the beginning, and it is very difficult to win a reversal on appeal.”

“In the meantime, without an order halting implementation, the measure will go into effect. The challengers may just run out of racetrack on this particular lawsuit,” Reitz added.

Reitz has more to say about the reversal in his post at the Freedom Foundation blog.

Initiative 1183 is scheduled for full implementation on June 1.


[featured photo credit: Portt]