ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York state government news, theater owners ask for permission to serve alcohol to moviegoers and there’s a new push to legalize marijuana.
Meanwhile, advocates for inmates in state prisons seek more visitation time.
Lawmakers return to Albany on Monday to begin the last two weeks of their legislative session.
A look at what’s coming up:
ALCOHOL IN MOVIE THEATERS
Theater owners and beer, wine and cider makers are asking lawmakers to pass a law allowing movie theaters to serve alcohol.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the idea, which he says would help theaters attract more visitors and give a boost to the state’s burgeoning craft beverage industry.
On Monday, a group of theater owners, local mayors and alcohol producers will gather at the Capitol to make a final push for the bill.
If a theater wants to serve alcohol under current law, they must operate a full kitchen or obtain a tavern license allowing them to serve alcohol in the lobby only.
Under the proposal before lawmakers, theaters could apply for a special license to serve alcohol. No sales would be permitted for films rated G or PG.
The idea may be a long shot this session, but advocates of marijuana legalization are launching a new effort to legalize, regulate and tax America’s most popular illicit substance.
The Drug Policy Alliance, the Immigrant Defense Project, VOCAL-NY and supportive lawmakers are scheduled to announce the reintroduction of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act Monday at the Capitol.
Supporters say it’s time New York joined the growing list of states that recognize changing public perceptions about the drug. They say legalizing pot will eliminate harsh criminal penalties that disproportionately affect minorities while raising hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
The state already allows people with certain medical conditions to obtain non-smokeable forms of medical marijuana. Cuomo has said he opposes the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Two lawmakers are urging the state to reverse a decision to cut visitation days at medium-security prisons.
Assembly Corrections Committee Chairman David Weprin, of Queens, and Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, of Manhattan, also want the state to reestablish free bus service from major cities to the state’s prisons. Service was cut in 2011.
The two Democrats say the state should make it easier for loved ones to visit inmates. They say the meetings allow prisoners to retain connections to their home communities and help reduce prison violence and recidivism.
Advocates for incarcerated New Yorkers hope the Legislature approves the changes before adjourning later this month.