Posted on | September 8, 2014
Written by | Paul Santelle
Keeping an eye on Capitol Hill, not just Trenton
There is little doubt that our state’s summer tourism industry may take several years to fully recover to pre-Sandy numbers, but clearly this summer signs of resilience offered our industry some solace across all three tiers. Unfortunately, it does not look like smooth sailing ahead.
There is little doubt that if there was ever a time for our three tiers to work together, that time is now! There are people on Capitol Hill contemplating several pieces of legislation.
Starting with THE GOOD is the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act that would finally level the playing field between the virtual vs. brick and mortar retailers. The 800-pound gorilla known as Amazon is stepping up their game in the Garden State with plans to expand their presence on the internet via the sale alcoholic beverages—so let’s make sure we get this piece of legislation across the finish line ASAP!
THE BAD is the new Ignition Interlock Mandate Bill that would require ALL states to use ignition interlock devices for a minimum of six (6) months for ALL convicted drunk drivers (including first offenders). Such a mandate would prevent local judges from being able to use their discretion in determining whether to order an interlock ignition device for a first-time DWI-DUI offender based on a review of their circumstances (i.e., a 21-year-old first offender with a bad driving record vs. a 50-year-old first offender with a perfect driving record).
When it comes to THE UGLY, nothing could be uglier than lowering the BAC level from .08 to .05! Basically, this would be the criminalization of anyone having one drink at a restaurant, bar, sporting or social event—and even one at your neighbor’s home around the corner. In a time when some states are even legalizing recreational marijuana, it is hard to comprehend that someone on the Hill is even whispering about .05. This would be nothing more than a return to Prohibition, but the fact that I am having to write about it tells you that we need to be vigilant in defending our industry!
NJLSA RENEWALS HAVE BEEN MAILED
Over the course of the last two months we have sent out our Membership Renewals along with solicitations for new members to the entire state. We appreciate all of the renewals that came in and hope that those of you who are maybe a new licensee or even an older licensee (sitting on the sidelines) will consider joining your trade association. We are a not-for-profit trade group that is run entirely by off-premise retail licenses who dedicate pro-bono time to the efforts of managing our association.
We are currently working on some much-needed legislation that will represent the foundation of the future of your business to be able to compete and survive in the national and global economy that is constantly challenging our state’s historically strong independent retailer model. We are also proud to be affiliated with the American Beverage Licensees (ABLusa.org), who represent more than 20,000 independent licensees from coast to coast! Retailer, Wholesaler and Supplier solidarity will be the key to protecting and defending our ability to survive and thrive in the long-term.
New Date! NJLSA Fall Holiday Trade Show
Wednesday, October 29th
4pm – 8pm
This show has become one of the largest industry trade shows on the East Coast, and maybe even the country, and we look forward to hosting for the 9th year at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center at Raritan Center, in Edison. Please be sure to mark your calendars and plan to support this event as many of you have done in the past!