Author’s Note: Washington State’s privatization of liquor sales in 2011 has stimulated renewed interest in this option in neighboring Idaho, where liquor sales fall under the monopoly control of the Idaho State Liquor Division. The claim that the ISLD has a constitutional mandate to promote temperance harbors a number of rhetorical utilities for the anti-privatization camp. But is such a claim justified? Below, I take another look at the history of Idaho’s state constitution to find out. – Ron Roizen
Does the Idaho State Liquor Division have a constitutional responsibility to “promote temperance”?
As it happens, the word “temperance” appears in one place only in Idaho’s constitution:
Article III, Section 24, which is titled “PROMOTION OF TEMPERANCE AND MORALITY,” reads as follows: “The first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home. The legislature should further all wise and well directed efforts for the promotion of temperance and morality.”
This temperance provision dates back to the original 1889 text of Idaho’s constitution, making it more than 120 years old.