Booze in movie theaters? Lawmakers say no

ALBANY - Don't crack open a beer in a movie theater just yet.

State lawmakers do not appear to be on board with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to allow alcohol sales in movie theaters, which he tucked in to his $152.3 billion state budget proposal in January.

Senate Republicans, Assembly Democrats and the Senate's Independent Democratic Committee all rejected Cuomo's booze-in-theaters plan in their individual budget proposals earlier this week.

"The Senate denies the (governor's) proposal to authorize an Alcoholic Beverage license for the sale and consumption of alcohol in movie theaters," the Senate wrote in its budget resolution, which is expected to be approved Wednesday.

Cuomo's measure would allow the state to issue liquor permits to movie theaters, regardless of whether the theater serves restaurant-style food.

Currently, a movie theater can only sell alcohol if it has a kitchen to prepare food and has tables for each seat.
The governor has pushed to expand beer and wine production in New York, and he pitched his theater proposal as a way to promote New York-made products.

If approved, Cuomo's proposal would allow movie theaters to begin applying for a liquor license in April.

But the lawmakers' opposition marks a significant roadblock: Republicans control the Senate, and Democrats control the Assembly. Both conferences rejected the measure.

Under Cuomo's plan, moviegoers would only be able to buy one drink at a time, and theaters would only be able to sell alcohol to ticketholders for PG-13, R and NC-17 rated movies.

Sales could start one hour before the movie begins and would end at its conclusion.

The state Liquor Authority would be in charge of issuing licenses to theaters. Local municipalities would be able to object to a license application, but it would ultimately be up to the state whether to grant it.

 

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