Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How new liquor rules will affect communities

From the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking:

Last fall Washington voters passed Initiative 1183. Among other things, it privatizes Washington’s hard liquor distribution and sales system. Currently the WA State Liquor Control Board is developing new guidelines and procedures which will help govern implementation of I-1183. Here are responses to key questions.

Will we have more outlets selling spirits (hard liquor)?
It’s very likely there will be a significant increase in stores selling hard liquor. Your local Walmart, Safeway, or any other large outlet (over 10,000 sq. ft.) can apply for a retail spirits license. If there are no stores that large in your area, smaller stores may apply for a license to sell hard liquor.

Will it be easier for young people to get alcohol in stores?
Currently there is no requirement about training clerks to check ID. More than 95% of Washington’s state liquor stores passed liquor sales compliance checks. The rate in non-state stores was less than 80%.

Will there be more Liquor Control Officers enforcing liquor laws?
No, the Initiative does not require the addition of enforcement officers to deal with the increased number of sales outlets. Your local city or county will receive additional funds for public safety but they are not required to use those funds for enforcement of liquor laws and regulations.

Will the hours for selling alcohol be increased?
We don’t know. The Initiative requires the Liquor Control Board to develop a Responsible Vendor Program. That program can include standardized sale hours and require training of all employees. The LCB is soliciting comment now.

How can I provide my input to the Liquor Control Board about the Responsible Vendor Program?
The Liquor Control is taking comment on the new rules now. To comment, send an email with your recommendations about training criteria, standardized store hours, location of spirits products, and other concerns to rules@liq.wa.gov. Make sure to type Responsible Vendor Program in the subject line of your email.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

For parents: another problem with drinking in high school

The Partnership at Drugfree.org recently released a series of online videos to help parents prevent underage drinking and drug use among their children.  Here is one entitled "Another Problem with Drinking in High School".

Friday, February 10, 2012

Strengthening Families Program at Eckstein Middle School

Eckstein Middle School families are invited to participate in:

Strengthening Families Series
A free program for parents/guardians and their Eckstein students
Every Tuesday from February 28 to April 10, 2012
5:30-8:00 p.m. at Eckstein Middle School

Adolescent health experts will provide many tools to help adults parent their tween and teen.  Tweens and teens will learn skills for better communication and tips for how to resist peer pressure. 

Dinner for all participants will be provided.  Free childcare for children ages 2-12 will be available. 

For more information, contact the Strengthening Families coordinator.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coalition supports a statewide medicine return program

Feb. 8 UPDATE: SSB 5243 has been moved out of committee to the Senate floor and is awaiting a vote.  As expected, pharmaceutical companies are lobbying hard against the bill.   

Prevention Works in Seattle supports the development of a statewide medicine return program funded by pharmaceutical companies because:

• Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse among adolescents is on the rise in Washington State and around the nation.

• Medicine return programs are one tool communities can use to reduce teenage prescription drug abuse.

As the recipient of federal money, the coalition, as a group, cannot lobby for specific legislation.  However . . .
Everyone can forward information to others.

As individuals, coalition members can contact legislators and tell them that you support SSB 5234 and HB 1370.  The Washington State Senate Rules Committee needs to hear from people immediately if the legislation is to make it to a full Senate vote.

If people wish to contact legislators as a part of their jobs but are not allowed to lobby, the statement at the top of this post may be used. 

More information and resources are available on the Take Back Your Meds campaign website.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Senate committee considers even more alcohol deregulation

The Washington State Senate's Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee will be voting on the following three bills tomorrow morning. 

1) SB 5650 - Allowing craft distilleries to sell their own spirits at qualifying farmers markets.

2) SB 6475 - Changing the criteria for the beer and wine tasting endorsement for grocery stores.

3) SB 6477 - Concerning spirits sampling in former contract liquor stores.

All three of these bills further deregulate alcohol by increasing the number of places where it can be sold or sampled.  Not to mention that I-1183 establishes that spirits should only be sold in stores that are 10,000 square feet or larger -- how large are farmers markets? 
This legislation is part of a growing trend of bills that normalize the casual use of alcohol in places such as grocery stores and farmers markets -- places frequented by children. 
Considering that most people drive to grocery stores and farmers markets, such bills also dilute the directive "don't drink and drive" to "it is okay to drink a little and drive".