Washington voters have approved a plan to privatize liquor sales, siding with Costco in the costliest initiative campaign in state history.
Unofficial results Tuesday night showed the measure passing with widespread support. Costco Wholesale Corp. committed $22 million to supporting the measure, which will dismantle controls that have been in place since Prohibition.
Wholesalers provided much of the opposition funding, as retailers will now be able to bypass them and buy product directly from producers. About 1,000 people who currently operate the state's system will lose their jobs.
Costco had backed another privatization measure that failed last year. The latest one includes more revenue for state and local governments, as well as stricter controls on what stores can sell
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Abortion opponents say they're still pursuing life-at-fertilization ballot initiatives in six other states even though voters in the Bible Belt state of Mississippi rejected the conservative measure.
Abortion rights supporters praised the vote, saying the measure went too far because it would have made common forms of birth control illegal and would have forced women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
The White House called it a victory for women and families.
"The president believes that extreme amendments like this would do real damage to a woman's constitutional right to make her own health care decisions, including some very personal decisions on contraception and family planning," President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
If it had passed, the "personhood" proposal was intended to prompt a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a legal right to abortion. A Colorado-based group, Personhood USA, is trying to get the measure on 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada and California.
Voters in Colorado have already rejected similar proposals in 2008 and 2010. Keith Mason, a co-founder of the group, said they might try again in Mississippi, too.
"It's not because the people are not pro-life," Mason said of the failed ballot measure. "It's because Planned Parenthood put a lot of misconceptions and lies in front of folks and created a lot of confusion."
Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement that Mississippi voters rejected the amendment because they understood it was government going too far.
The measure "would have allowed government to have control over personal decisions that should be left up to a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith, including keeping a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy from getting the care she needs, and criminalizing everything from abortion to common forms of birth control such as the pill and the IUD (the intrauterine device)."
The so-called personhood initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of Mississippi voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democrats and union officials encouraged by voters' rejection Tuesday of an anti-union law in Ohio hope to channel that momentum and money into the next big fight - the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
The drive to recall Walker, a Republican, just a year into his term stems from legislation he backed that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin. Walker opponents plan to begin next week collecting the more than 540,000 signatures needed to trigger a recall election.
Unlike Ohio, Wisconsin law does not provide for a referendum vote on rejecting the collective bargaining law. Opponents initially targeted state senators who supported the measure and now will turn to Walker.
The recall campaign will be broader than the Ohio effort and encompass other actions Walker pushed, including passage of a budget that made deep cuts to public education.
Labor organizers who helped mobilize the Ohio vote are already on the ground in Wisconsin. The Ohio election shows that the public is ready to reject conservative policies that weakened unions and cut public programs, said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO, which represents 250,000 workers in the state.
"It shows that if people come together and work in solidarity and work in unity, they can overcome big money spent against them," Neuenfeldt said Wednesday. "I think we started to show that this summer in the Senate recalls and this is further proof this is the model to be used."