The Power Hungry Liquor Control Board
By Guest Columnist Nancy Churchill
Does your favorite restaurant or bar have a liquor license? If it serves alcoholic drinks, it does. A good restaurant is often the heart of a small community, bringing families and friends together for food and fellowship. That’s true in our community, and it’s true in communities all across Washington.
Do you wonder why your favorite eatery went along with the governor’s emergency orders and shutdowns? Why it complied with policies that were clearly destroying their business, hurting employees, and isolating vulnerable community members? Why it just submitted to unreasonable mandates? Here’s why: the governor’s weaponized bureaucrats at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board have terrorized our restauranteurs for the entire emergency.
What’s the liquor control board? According to the official website lcb.wa.gov, “The Board is composed of three members appointed by the governor to six-year terms … The agency has licensing, enforcement, tax collection and/or regulatory roles concerning alcohol, cannabis, vape and tobacco. It has a staff of approximately 350.” The three Inslee-appointed board members are acting as “Insee’s Enforcers” for any business that has a liquor license or sells tobacco!
Inslee, using his broad emergency powers, authorized the board to issue emergency rules to ENFORCE the governor’s restaurant-killing mandates. It has the power to pull a license and shut a struggling restaurant down. Most restaurants with a liquor license dread a visit from Inslee’s LCB enforcers. The democrat led legislature chose to do nothing to help curb the governor’s emergency powers and help save the struggling restaurants going out of business in their districts. Why?
Now the power-hungry liquor control board wants to make their emergency powers permanent. The board likes having the power to yank a license without following any due process. The argument for this power grab is that since we don’t know when the emergency will be over, and since there will be future emergencies, let’s just give the LCB permanent power to suspend licenses during any emergency. This will “will support efforts to preserve public health and safety.”
What nonsense. We are a “let’s eat out” society. Many of our vulnerable elderly citizens have given up cooking at home. It’s easier, less work, and more affordable for seniors to eat out. They also get to connect with their friends and community, vitally important for mental health and stability. Preserving public health and safety would involve allowing all citizens access to safe and affordable public dining choices. The LCB doesn’t want “health and safety”; It’s goal is total control over the restaurant industry.
Do you think that “ending the emergency” will return things to normal? It will never be normal if an unelected 3 person board has the permanent power to close down an entire segment of the economy!
It’s time to push back against bureaucratic bullying and authoritarian power grabs. The name of the proposed rule is: WSR 21-09-041. It’s still just a proposal. The comment period is open until this Friday, June 4th. You need to speak up today!
Send your comments on WSR 21-09-041 to Audrey Vasek, Policy and Rules Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
One more thing. YOU can get involved in monitoring the meetings of the LCB! Check the official meeting schedule at lcb.wa.gov/boardmeetings/board_meetings. Stand up for your rights by getting involved and attending meetings. You don’t have to do it all, but please do something. Monitoring the unelected and power hungry bureaucrats at the LCB could be your something.
Hat tip to John McKay at NewsTalk 870 am (KFLD). His article “Liquor Control Wants to make pandemic powers permanent” was the inspiration for this opinion.
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.