Alcoholic Beverage Panel Recommends Modernizing Alcoholic Beverage Control Law
On Wednesday, April 13, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Working Group released its final report recommending ways to streamline and modernize New York’s 82 year old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
The 19 member group, created by Governor Andrew Cuomo last November, consists of the Chairman of the State Liquor Authority, Executive Director of State Law Revision Commission, and many industry experts and stakeholders. Governor Cuomo created the panel to determine ways to break the bureaucratic barriers contained in the law. The panel’s goal is to promote the state’s burgeoning craft wine, beer, and spirit business and bring the law into the modern era.
The Panel’s report recommends amending the long controversial law that prohibits alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. The recommendations address concerns of Sunday brunch patrons, wine tourists, fans of NFL teams playing in London, and fans of Premier League soccer. The recommendation would allow for the sale and distribution of alcohol at bars and restaurants as early as 8:00 a.m.
The State Panel also recommended streamlining the process for bars to obtain liquor licenses. The recommended reorganization of the licensing system would reduce the number of licenses required from nine to three.
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Monroe County) has already introduced a bill in this regard and looks forward to working with the Governor in effectuating these reforms. Governor Cuomo intends to review the recommendations and propose some legislation before the end of session in June.
Five Major Banks Are Still “Too Big To Fail”
On Wednesday, April 13, the Federal Reserve and FDIC issued long reports to five of the eight “too big to fail” banks rejecting their “living wills”. The regulators found that the five banks did not have credible plans to wind down in the event of a crisis. Should one of the banks require protection of the Bankruptcy Law, the current living wills would not be sufficient to maintain order during the process and prevent financial crisis, the regulators found.
The five banks faulted include Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, State Street, and Wells Fargo. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were faulted by only one of the two regulators each, and CitiGroup received approval from both the Federal Reserve and the FDIC.
The “too big to fail” banks are facing this increased regulation after the passing of 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was as passed in response to the financial crisis of 2008. The Act puts in place a regulatory system operating with much more oversight to engender a safer and more stable financial system.
The five banks have until October 1 to fix the living wills. Failure to do so will allow the Federal Reserve and FDIC to impose further restrictions on the banks’ activities, which could include raising capital levels. If the banks do not satisfy the regulators’ concerns within the next two years, the banks may be forced to sell assets.
State LGBT Legislation Impacts Local Business
Within the past year, several states including Georgia and North Carolina have passed legislation under the guise of religious freedom and privacy laws that effectuate a weakening of laws protecting LGBT rights. The states engaged in this discriminatory legislative action have seen backlash from big and small business alike in the form of boycotts.
The City of Charlotte recently passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance to allow transgender citizens to use public bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity as opposed to their designation on their birth certificate. In response, the state legislature rushed HB2 – a law blocking local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances.
Big business struck back against the discriminatory law, threatening to take a large economic toll on a state already facing fierce competition in its prized tech industry from such technology hubs as New York City, Silicon Valley, and Boston. After the anti-LGBT state legislation, PayPal decided to terminate its recently announced plans to build a 3.6 million dollar global operation center in Charlotte which would bring 400 new jobs. Google Ventures CEO, Bill Maris, pledged not to invest in any companies from the State of North Carolina until the new law is repealed Also, Deutsche Bank has withdrawn a facility upgrade it contemplated that would have brought 250 new jobs, in response to the legislation
The entertainment sector has also responded, potentially harming the State’s economy. The NBA has begun to consider whether it should relocate its All-Star Game, which is scheduled to be played in North Carolina next season. Many artists and performers, including Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil, have begun cancelling shows in North Carolina, refusing to travel to the state.
Additionally, other states have begun poaching the top names in businesses headquartered in North Carolina. Connecticut legislators have begun measures to lure Bank of America away from North Carolina into a state that shares its social values and supports its LGBT workforce.
Small business owners have also been instrumental in combating the discriminatory legislation. Over 170 small businesses signed a petition calling for the bill’s repeal in the name of human rights.
The State of Georgia has seen similar backlash for discriminatory legislation that would have made it easier for businesses to deny services to same-sex couples. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently vetoed a religious freedom bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to same sex couples. Gov. Deal vetoed the bill after facing immense pressure from many businesses including Apple, IBM, American Airlines, Comcast and the NFL.
North Carolina and Georgia are just two examples of many states seeing economic disruption due to the passing of discriminatory legislation. States that were once ripe for startups and small business are appearing less favorable with the advancement of such legislation and could significantly impact their respective economies and business growth. One particular example of the economic impact in North Carolina is the Greater Raleigh Convention Center, which lost 6 firm bookings, amounting to a loss of $2.4 million since the passage of the bill in March. The Convention Center indicated 16 more bookings are in jeopardy amounting to a potential loss of $44 million.
The impact and response to this recent wave of anti-LGBT legislation demonstrates the power of big business in effectuating social change and the good that can be done as here in the fight for protecting human rights.
Prepared by Richard J. Zielinski