In 2007, the New York State Law Revision Commission began the process of examining the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control laws. The purpose of the Commission is to review laws and court rulings in New York, and make recommendations regarding reforming those laws it finds to be defective or out of date. After familiarizing itself with the Alcoholic Beverage Control laws, the New York State Liquor Authority, and other current concerns regarding alcohol regulation, the Commission published a preliminary report highlighting the issues it considered needing reform. Before making specific recommendations, the Commission sought comments from the public.
Given the alarming trend in recent years for Big Alcohol (and big box retailers) to flex both its lobbying and litigation muscle in an attempt to deregulate state alcohol laws, we decided to submit comments. Our aim is to help ensure that New York State does not follow in the path of other states (including California) where policymakers have increasingly chipped away at such important state regulations as limitations on outlet density and maintaining the integrity of the three-tier system. We also addressed concerns relating to weakening state laws on labeling and advertising, lowering the price of alcohol, and allowing more giveaways between the tiers.
Strong state regulation of alcoholic beverages is critical to help protect the public from the myriad problems associated with underage drinking and over-consumption in general. While alcohol is not the health and safety catastrophe that it was prior to Prohibition, any proposed changes seeking to "modernize" these laws in the name of efficiency and competition threaten to dismantle the numerous positive strides that are the result of sound regulation over the last 75 years since Prohibition. The Commission is expected to release its report at the end of September and you can check back on our website for further updates. Also, if you know of a similar effort to modernize alcohol laws or regulations in your state, feel free to contact us for assistance.
Update:Liquor Authority Called Public Threat
Resources:New York State Law Revision Commission Preliminary Report
Marin Institute Comments to New York Law Revision Commission