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Published on Friday, January 10, 2014

Legislature hopes to control liquor thefts at retail outlets

Rep. Hurst (D-Enumclaw) and many law enforcement agencies say liquor theft continues to be a problem since privatization of liquor sales in Washington. Rep. Dahlquist (R-Enumclaw) and Rep. Hurst, Chair of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, introduced a bill aimed at reducing and preventing liquor theft.

HB 2155 provides power to the Liquor Control Board (LCB) to further control and regulate retail licensees where theft is an issue. The bill authorizes LCB to:

  • Request an audit from retailers on losses of spirits
  • Require installation of adequate store security systems and secure product placement
  • Require a sufficient number of trained staff to be employed at an establishment

Additionally, a state or local law enforcement agency must notify LCB if they have information that a licensee has an unacceptable rate of spirit theft. Licenses to sell spirits may be suspended if a store fails to meet LCB requirements.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) shared some concerns with this bill and are working to further define unclear provisions like unacceptable rate or sufficient loss. WASPC wants to identify problem retailers in communities in order to better target limited resources and crack down on retailers who refuse to address ongoing theft. AWC is supporting WASPC’s efforts and will continue to work with the bill’s sponsors.

HB 2155 is set for a public hearing January 16 at 1:30pm.

Categories: Law & justice, Liquor