OLYMPIA, Wash. -

State lawmakers extended a lifeline this year to small liquor stores who had struggled under the new privatization rules, but that change has also opened the door for large retailers to ask for the same break next year.

In one of the final votes taken by the Legislature before adjournment last month, lawmakers agreed to limit the fees paid by the smaller stores that used to handle liquor sales when the state controlled the market. Those outlets will no longer have to pay a 17 percent fee for sales to bars and restaurants.

Larger retailers also want the same benefit.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said lawmakers didn't have the votes this year to expand the measure to other retailers.