In the state of Washington, there is a law that prohibits the issuance of a liquor license to any operation that is within 500 feet of a school. A public school, that is. So when the 99 Cent Smoke Shop in Seattle applied for a beer and wine license near a Catholic school, it was granted.

The Catholic League entered the case and found that the Washington State Liquor Control Board and has now agreed to “give substantial weight to the objections filed by a private school and not issue a liquor license within 500 feet of a private school if the school objects.” This won’t reverse the decision on the 99 Cent Smoke Shop, and it won’t automatically prohibit the granting of a liquor license near a Catholic school in the future, but it does lessen the likelihood that this will happen again.

Unfortunately for our side, only one Catholic objected when the hearings were going on, Rev. James H. Gandrau. Had there been more, matters might have been different. But as our intervention shows, it is never too late to do the right thing.

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