Gov. Murphy issues conditional veto on bill loosening New Jersey brewery restrictions
It's back to the drawing board for a bill aimed at loosening restrictions on breweries and other craft alcohol manufacturers in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued a conditional veto for Senate Bill 3038. The veto lays out several additional changes that Murphy wants added to broaden the bill and fix what he calls antiquated liquor license laws.
News 12 New Jersey's Eric Landskroner questioned Murphy on the move during Monday’s "Ask Gov. Murphy" program. Murphy said he is hopeful this will be resolved in the coming weeks.
"I don't want to speak for the Legislature but as I've said, I've got nothing but respect for them. But if this gets resolved in this lame duck period which is right now, that will be by the end of the year," Murphy said. "Again, remember the breweries, distilleries, wineries are unincumbered until the end of the year and God willing this gets done by then."
New Jersey brewery owners were upset by the governor’s veto of the bill, which would have loosened restrictions on their business.
Come Jan. 1, restriction rollbacks on breweries and distilleries are set to expire, putting the future of many of these small businesses in jeopardy.
A bill signed unanimously by both the state Assembly and state Senate was vetoed - as Murphy wanted more sweeping liquor license reform attached to it. Brewery owners argue restrictions like the number of TVs they're allowed, and live entertainment dates should be kept separate from the governor's recommended reforms.
"What’s going to happen Jan. 1? What's going to happen to my business where I have been doing the things I’ve been doing to keep the lights on – we are already struggling with an economy not as strong as it was. What is going to happen to my small business," asked Twin Lights Brewing owner Will Grundmann.
"Over the last year, just the amount of breweries we have seen close in the state has been unreal to me. It's all because they're trying to plan their business around something they don't know if they're able to do," said Jason Goldstein, owner of Icarus Brewing in Lakewood.
"When we achieved unanimous support in the Senate and in the House in the state, I'm not sure that ever happened, otherwise getting everybody in the state left, right, Democrat, Republican, agree on something they all agreed to support our breweries," added Goldstein.
In a statement to News 12, bill sponsor state Sen. Vin Gopal says, "I'm disappointed that a bill which would have enacted common sense and widely supported reforms to breweries have been vetoed. I remain committed to supporting New Jersey's craft alcohol manufacturers and ensuring unnecessary regulations do not inhibit their growth. I will work closely with stakeholders and my colleagues in the Legislature over the coming weeks to review the governor's recommendations.”
See all of the changes Murphy is requesting with the conditional veto: