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  • NJ A1894
  • Permits municipalities to recover certain costs and fees from alcoholic beverage licensees charged with violations.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
Under current law, municipalities are charged with the primary authority to regulate alcoholic beverage licenses for retail sales which are issued in that municipality. These are the licenses issued generally to restaurants, bars and liquor stores. While municipalities bear much of the expense in investigating and prosecuting charges brought against licensees for violations, they are not authorized to impose or collect fees to offset the substantial costs of prosecution. If a licensee appeals a suspension imposed by the municipality to the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the director may convert the suspension into a monetary penalty which is paid to the division for deposit into the State's general fund. Current law (R.S.33:1-12) permits municipalities to require licensees to pay an annual license fee to mitigate the expenses of administering their licenses. Increasing this fee, however, passes the cost of prosecuting violators on to all licensees, including the majority who comply with all statutes, regulations and ordinances. This bill permits municipal issuing authorities to assess and retain costs and attorneys fees incurred by municipal issuing authorities pursuing disciplinary charges against licensees. These fees may be assessed when (1) the municipal issuing authority issues charges and holds a disciplinary hearing and determines that the licensee has violated a statute, regulation or municipal ordinance, or (2) the municipal issuing authority and the licensee enter into a settlement agreement after issuance of the charges and the licensee concedes liability. Under the provisions of this bill, the municipal issuing authority is to determine the costs and fees and inform the licensee in writing of the amount assessed and the basis for the assessment. If the licensee objects to the amount of the assessment, the licensee is required to file any appeal of the assessment within 10 days after receipt of the assessment. The bill provides that the municipal issuing authority is to make a final determination within 30 days after receiving the licensee's appeal in writing, or at its next regularly scheduled meeting if that is more than 30 days after receipt of the appeal. The bill permits the licensee to appeal the final determination to the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In order to facilitate settlement of the charges, and to reduce costs for all parties, the bill also provides that if the municipal issuing authority and the licensee resolve the charges against the licensee after issuance of the charges, the bill permits the municipal issuing authority and the licensee to agree to a specific assessment. Finally, the bill provides that any assessment by a municipal issuing authority for costs and attorney's fees would be paid directly to that municipal issuing authority and is not to be included in any monetary payment to the director as an offer in compromise. The director, in his discretion, is authorized to accept such offers from licensees in an amount the director deems proper in lieu of a license suspension by the director or any other issuing authority.
Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations, Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations
INT 1RA REF ARO  (on 1/27/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A INT 1RA REF ARO
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified