Massachusetts reviewing alcohol laws for first time in 85 years

Series of hearings held statewide

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The state’s alcohol task force is reviewing Massachusetts alcohol laws, and looking for suggestions to improve them.

Tuesday’s meeting in Northampton was the fourth of six hearings the task force is holding. This is the first time in 85 years that the liquor laws have been fully reviewed.

The task force has three goals:

  • Look at what the laws say, and compare them to how restaurants, bars, and liquor stores operate today.
  • Collect community input
  • Study how any law revisions would impact the health and safety of communities

“You had these laws put in place, and businesses and industry grew up around them. As businesses have grown, and the habits have changed, the laws didn’t quite fit where we are today,” task force chair Macy Russell said.

Business owners have suggested changes to the license application process to speed it up. Others suggested allowing cities and towns to issue more liquor licenses. All of these suggestions will be reviewed by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg before they are presented to the Senate and Governor Charlie Baker.

Those who submitted position papers and statements through the Task Force website will be invited to attend and deliver a brief presentation. All members of the public are also welcome to come and provide testimony. Anyone planning to attend can sign up in advance at this link: Speaking order will be determined on a first-come, first-serve basis with choice given to anyone who submitted position papers.

The hearings will take place at the following dates and locations:

Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Waltham
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Government Center Auditorium: 119 School Street, First Floor, Waltham, MA 02451

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – Foxborough
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Boyden Public Library, Community Room: 10 Bird Street, Foxborough, MA 02035

Thursday, June 1, 2017 – Leominster
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Leominster Public Library, Large Conference Room: 30 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – Northampton
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers: 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060

Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Bourne
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Community Center: 239 Main Street, Bourne, MA 02532

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Andover
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Town of Andover Offices, Third Floor Selectmen’s Room A: 36 Bartlet Street, Andover, MA 01810

7 Member Body to Review Alcoholic Beverage Industry and Regulatory Structure in Massachusetts