Legislative Update: New Laws Ease Restrictions for Some Producers and Retailers

In my previous post, I wrote about three wine-related bills that were sent to Governor Cuomo for signature. Yesterday the Governor signed two of those bills, S440B and S4668, and vetoed the other, S1130. S440B and S4668 ease certain burdens on retailers and wineries, respectively, while S1130 would have made it more difficult for on-premises retailers to obtain special permits. This is good news for many establishments that produce and sell wine—something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!

To recap, S440B allows wine and liquor retailers to extend store credit to businesses and corporations. Before this bill became law, retailers could not sell on credit except in the case of wines sold to religious organizations for sacramental purposes and wines that were delivered to residential addresses. Effective immediately, this new law will make it easier for businesses to purchase alcoholic beverages.

S4668 exempts small, non-farm wineries from the requirement to file annual information returns regarding their transactions with vendors that are subject to the sales tax. Farm wineries were granted this exemption in 2012, and now non-farm wineries that produce less than 150,000 gallons of wine annually are also relieved of this paperwork burden. This law takes effect immediately.

S1130 would have imposed a community board notice requirement on on-premises retailers that seek all-night liquor permits. With holiday season upon us, this would have put a damper on many businesses’ party plans. The Governor concluded that the bill was duplicative of existing requirements. He explains in his veto message:

Current law requires the applicant's local Community Board to be notified and involved in the review process when a business applies for its original license, as well as every two years thereafter when a business applies for a license renewal. Requiring further involvement of the Community Board to obtain an after-hours permit would be duplicative, especially when local concerns about extending an establishment's hours of operation are properly addressed through the State Liquor Authority's consultation with local law enforcement.

See my previous post for more details on S440B, S4668, and S1130, and be sure to check my bill tracker for other updates, including on A5920 the "Empire Wine bill."