Grocery Lobbyist Meets With Otter About Deregulating Sales

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The Associated Press' John Miller reports today that a lobbyist with the Northwest Grocery Association has been meeting with Idaho officials about a possible ballot initiative that would allow liquor sales in grocery stores and large retailers like Costco.

Miller reports that NGA president Joe Gilliam met with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and their staffs on Dec. 20, to learn how to get the issue on a statewide ballot. To be eligible for this year's general election, NGA would need to secure 47,432 signatures from registered voters by April 30.

Last November, voters in Washington State opted to allow liquor sales by private retailers, rather than state-run liquor stores. The vote came in the wake of a $22.7 million campaign, supported by the NGA and funded in large part by the Costco retail chain. Beginning this June, liquor sales in Washington shift from state to grocery and warehouse stores.

The coalition against the initiative was financed mostly by wine and liquor distributors, who feared that Washington's deregulation would spread to other states.

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