Lower Manhattan lawmakers’ bill to create public liquor license database gets thumbs-up from Cuomo

(Wikimedia Commons/Jazz Guy)

BY GABE HERMAN | Information about liquor licenses for local businesses will soon be more accessible to the public, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law today that was sponsored by Lower Manhattan lawmakers.

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Deborah Glick sponsored the legislation to give the public more information about on-site liquor licenses. The law officially goes into effect 90 days from now.

“Community boards, block associations, and residents across my district have for years called upon the State Liquor Authority to make information on these licenses more available and accessible,” said Hoylman after the bill was signed, “so that they can better understand their impact on our neighborhoods. This is basic, good government. Yet until now, to our enormous frustration, the only option for the public to learn this information was through filing a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

“You shouldn’t have to file a FOIL request,” Hoylman added, “just to find out whether a bar in your neighborhood has a liquor license that permits live music or an outside patio. What’s more, under these constraints, police precincts aren’t able to respond to neighborhood noise complaints—as they have no way to confirm whether an establishment is operating within the parameters of their license or not.

“Making liquor license information available to the public is an easy fix to make our neighborhoods work better for all New Yorkers.”

“Now that liquor license information will be easily obtainable,” said Glick, “people can see for themselves if nearby establishments are being good neighbors and are operating within the constraints of their license. After ensuring this bill’s passage through the Assembly in 2018, I am gratified to see it has finally become law.”

The bill’s passage was also seen as good news for Community Board 3’s District Manager Susan Stetzer. “Having information available online would be a tremendous help,” she said. “We spend a lot of time working with community groups and with our local precincts to resolve issues that require information about a licensed business, particularly method of operation and outdoor use questions.

“I often ask community groups to help by FOILing information to save community board time,” Stetzer added. “Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Glick’s legislation will save time for the SLA also as well as eliminate FOILing backups that occur because of vacation or lack of staff. Having SLA information available online will create many efficiencies — there is no downside!”

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