We have heard from some Boston residents who are concerned about the potential impacts of “SD420 – An Act relative to modernizing the business licensing process.” This legislation was drafted by the City of Boston and filed in partnership with Mayor Walsh.
The bill would give more control over business licensure to municipalities. The part of the bill that is of interest to most people, of course, is the section that would allow municipalities the ability to set restaurant and bar closing hours. Currently the state prohibits serving alcohol from 2:00AM to 8:00AM,this bill would remove that prohibition for communities in the MBTA service area. Those communities would then have the ability, at the discretion of the municipal government, to extend service hours. In other words if this bill became law and the City wanted to allow bars and restaurants to remain open later, it could make such a change subject to the approval of city government, presumably this would mean a vote of the city council.
Here is a summary, authored by the City:
The City issues a myriad of different operating licenses to businesses through two administrative bodies: the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Licensing and the Boston Licensing Board. At times, this process can be duplicative and burdensome for our local businesses. This legislation proposes to make changes to existing licensing requirements that would further the Mayor’s goals of streamlining the regulatory process and strengthening small businesses citywide. This plan includes providing local discretion to:
– Eliminate the Common Victuallers (CV) license requirement for non-alcohol businesses wishing to operate during standard business hours;
– Eliminate specialty licenses for billiard tables, bowling alleys, automatic amusement devices and fortune tellers;
– Determine at what capacity certain establishments can be exempt from the Non-Live Entertainment License requirements;
– Determine at what capacity certain establishments can be exempt from the Live Entertainment License requirements for instrumental/vocal music ; and
– Allow restaurants and bars to remain open past 2 a.m.
You can view a full copy of the legislation here.
Office of State Senator WIlliam N. Brownsberger