With just two days remaining in the two-year legislative session in Trenton, New Jersey lawmakers and the Governor’s Office are reportedly drafting compromise legislation for speedy passage tomorrow and Monday, which Governor Murphy is expected to sign into law in a matter of days. While the contents of the draft bill fall far short of the Murphy Administration’s proposed sweeping overhaul of the state’s alcoholic beverage laws, the revisions appear to be significant. NJ Advance Media has previewed the legislation and is reporting that it would:

  • Activate some of the 1,400 dormant licenses in the state that have not been used at a restaurant or bar for at least eight years — also known as “pocket licenses.” If a business does not use the license within two years, it effectively expires and the municipality can auction it off to a new business.
  • Allow a municipality to transfer one dormant license and two every five years to a bordering town in need of more. For example, Montclair could transfer a dormant liquor license to Bloomfield, but not Newark.
  • Allow towns with malls larger than 750,000 square feet to get two additional liquor licenses and those with malls larger than 1.5 million square feet to get four. It would be up to the town whether to grant the licenses.
  • Permit breweries, wineries, and distilleries to hold unlimited events and private parties on their grounds but no more than 25 off site. They would also be allowed to sell food including crackers, chips, nuts, and other snacks, as well as coordinating other food with an outside vendor. 

Click here to view the full story from NJ Advance Media

This is obviously a fast-breaking news story.  Check back on this blog for further developments out of Trenton.