Bryan Buckalew

Reporter/Contributor Northwest News Network
Elaine Thompson / AP

This week, the state legislature took the first step toward privatizing liquor distribution. The new legislation allows private companies to submit bids to be the sole distributor of liquor in the state. In Olympia, Bryan Buckalew reports not all advocates of privatizing liquor are happy with the development.

The Washington state budget plan released Tuesday will cut funding for in-home health care workers. In reaction, one health care workers' union has already filed an initiative aiming to mitigate the effects of some of those reductions.

Washington would have the option to privatize the state’s liquor distribution system under a measure that passed the state Senate Saturday. It’s the latest compromise in a long-running debate over the future of Washington’s liquor system.

It’s more “we’ll see if it’s a good deal” option than anything else. The state would solicit bids to see if it could earn money by leasing the state’s liquor distribution facilities. If none of the bids work to Washington’s favor, distribution would continue as a state-run system. Republican Senator Joe Zarelli helped broker the deal.

Cigar aficionados could light up at their favorite bar under a bill up for a vote in the Washington Senate this week. The measure would allow cigar lounges in some bars and tobacco stores. But opponents of the change say it would overturn the will of Washington voters.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Governor Chris Gregoire says she wants all the states that allow medical marijuana to ask the federal government to reclassify the drug. She scheduled a conference call among those states Thursday. Meanwhile, a state Senate committee heard testimony Wednesday on a last ditch effort to pass an overhaul of Washington’s medical marijuana law.