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New license proposed for drivers delivering alcohol

Delivery drivers working for firms such as DoorDash and Instacart would be required to purchase a $50 state license and complete a certified class to deliver alcoholic beverages from bars and restaurants if a House bill under consideration passes.

Under current law, a class 12 permit is required for managers, bartenders and servers engaging in alcohol sales. House Bill 1375, sponsored by Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, would require delivery drivers to have to have the same permit.

Reeves said the bill is not an expansion of alcohol access but is about creating enforcement mechanisms and making sure people are being held accountable for checking to make sure people are old enough to drink.

“Having this opportunity to have these things delivered to our home prevents us from going out into the community and potentially driving home after consuming alcohol,” she said. “It gives us an opportunity to enjoy these beverages in the comfort of our own home.”

Drive Forward Executive Director Michael Wolfe said a significant number of his organization’s members are delivery drivers for businesses like DoorDash and Instacart, and some of them will have a hard time affording the permit.

“Our main concern here is the impact on earnings for our members,” he said. “Many of our members use this type of work to supplement their income to make ends meet. Any loss of earnings would impact our members in very negative ways.

“We feel a permit may not be the solution to making sure that delivery drivers are meeting the requirements of laws around verifying valid ID, not delivering alcohol to minors, and any liability resulting from delivery of alcohol,” he said.

Reeves said the intent of the bill is to get training for drivers.

“We’re not trying to slow down people's ability in a gig economy to make money,” she said. “What we're trying to do is ensure accountability and make sure that we're not just delivering to anybody.”