Legislative Tracker Updated

The 2017 New York State legislative session is well underway, and I have updated my state bill tracker to reflect wine-related legislation that is now pending. So far, the issues that seem likely to dominate state policy discourse are wage and hour regulations, e-commerce and the Empire Wine saga, the possibility of a gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes, and the sale of wine and beer in movie theaters. At the federal level, tax, immigration, international trade, agriculture, and labor and employment policy changes could have a significant impact on the wine industry. Stay tuned for (somewhat infrequent) updates.

Second Empire Wine Bill Vetoed

On Friday, November 4, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed Assembly Bill 10248 (“A10248,” same as Senate Bill 7728), a legislative measure that would have curtailed the State Liquor Authority’s jurisdiction over out-of-state activities.[1] A10248 was Assembly Member Phil Steck’s second attempt to clarify the conditions under which the State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) may punish a licensee or permittee for conduct that occurs outside of New York. A10248 and its predecessor, Assembly Bill 5920 (“A5920”), were precipitated by a long, bitter dispute between the State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) and Albany wine and liquor retailer Empire Wine (“Empire”). It is unclear at this point how NYSLA, Empire, and the Legislature will proceed.

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Shortening NYSLA's Long Arm: Senate Bill 7728

On Thursday, New York State Senator Phil Boyle introduced legislation that would limit the circumstances under which the State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) may penalize licensees[1] for perceived violations of other states’ laws.[2] The measure, Senate Bill 7728 (S.7728), is currently under consideration in the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations. If you are experiencing déjà vu, you are not crazy; similar legislation was introduced last year in response to the Empire Wine interstate alcohol shipment controversy.

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2016 Policy and Budget Preview

Governor Cuomo gave his State of the State address and released his proposed Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 last week, announcing his priorities for the year and setting the stage for important budget and policy discussions. One of the Governor’s goals for this fiscal year is to expand New York’s craft beverage industry, and he has proposed a number of investments and legislative changes to facilitate that expansion. Perhaps the most intriguing item for the wine industry is the modernization of the 81-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) Law, including by addressing e-commerce. Read on for a summary of a few of the Governor’s proposals. As always, refer to the Division of the Budget for complete information.

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