State Liquor Authority to End Attorney Certification Program

The Members of the Liquor Authority voted to end the Attorney Certification Program in February 2022. This program, implemented by former Chairman Dennis Rosen in 2009, gave applications filed by attorneys who “certified” the accuracy of the information priority in the license application process. At the start, Chairman Rosen directed that all attorney certified applications proceed ahead of any other applicants. Over time the process changed to give attorney certified applications a one month head start over others.

We objected to this dual track license application process loudly and aggressively. We made clear our belief that it would increase legal fees for applying for a license increasing the cost of opening a new business and putting those applicants that can’t afford the lawyers’ fees at a severe disadvantage. Twelve years later the Authority has found that the attorney certification program is fundamentally broken because the majority of the attorney certified applications, when scrutinized, are found to have as many errors as regular applications. And they finally acknowledged that it’s unfair to those applicants that can’t afford the attorney certification process.

Chairman Bradley made clear that he recognizes it’s taking too long to process applications and permits, calling it a “crisis.” He asked for suggestions for how to speed the license application process and said the Authority would organize a meeting with industry stakeholders to discuss improving the application process. We’ll see if anything comes of these consultations, but it is good to finally be rid of the unfair attorney certification program so all applications that are properly completed are treated the same.