New York Governor Must Act on SLA Bill

New York’s Governor Cuomo must make a decision regarding legislation that would block the State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) from enforcing violations of out-of-state liquor laws by New York licensees, unless the violations were enforced by the other state.

The bill summary notes it: “Limits the authority of the state liquor authority to penalize licensees based on perceived violations of the laws of other states, unless the conduct in question amounts to an independent violation of the alcoholic beverage control law or has resulted in a criminal conviction in another state.”

This bill stems from the SLA’s investigation into Empire Wine, a retailer that shipped wine to consumers out-of-state, allegedly in violation of those other state’s laws. The SLA sought to enforce these violations through its ability to revoke, cancel or suspend a New York license due to “improper conduct by the licensee.”

Craig Wolf, the president and CEO of WSWA, noted that the bill: “presents serious threats to the beverage alcohol regulatory system, and, if signed into law, will hamstring essential regulatory powers and operational independence of the New York State Liquor Authority.”

Meanwhile, backers of the bill note that without it, the SLA would be permitted to pursue other New York licensees shipping direct to consumers in other states.

Governor Cuomo must act on the bill today.