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Gov. Phil Murphy wants full overhaul on state’s liquor license laws

Gov. Phil Murphy called New Jersey’s current liquor laws “antiquated and confusing” during Tuesday’s State of the State address. He now wants to partner with state lawmakers to completely overhaul the laws.

News 12 Staff

Jan 12, 2023, 1:47 AM

Updated 554 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy called New Jersey’s current liquor laws “antiquated and confusing” during Tuesday’s State of the State address. He now wants to partner with state lawmakers to completely overhaul the laws.
“Expanding the number of available liquor licenses will not just help keep our favorite local restaurants healthy. It will also keep our economy healthy,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s plan would allow for more bars to open and for more restaurants to expand beyond BYOB to serve drinks with dinner.
“The opportunity here is enormous for our Main Streets and communities,” Murphy said.
In an interview with News 12 after the address, Murphy said lawmakers will have to put together a bill to send to his desk.
“It's not going to be easy, because you've got…opposite interests, which is why the state has to sort of play a role - not as a mediator but as an active player between the rightful interests,” the governor said.
Towns oversee their own liquor license regulations, and each municipality is capped at issuing one liquor license for every 3,000 residents. The governor's plan would gradually ease up on that restriction, allowing towns to eventually issue more liquor licenses. This means more bars and restaurants could soon open.
The executive director of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Administration said in a statement that new laws might hurt those who already have liquor licenses.
"Adding more licenses to the marketplace will have a negative impact on these small businesses that have contributed so much to their communities over the years,” said Dana Lancellotti.
Murphy also wants to create new rules and relaxed restrictions on the state's craft breweries, wineries and distilleries so that they can serve food at tastings and host more events.
WATCH: Gov. Phil Murphy speaks exclusively with News 12 New Jersey


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