ALBANY -- New York movie theaters are hoping to rewrite the ending in their push to legalize alcohol sales.
After the measure was rejected in the state budget in April, theater owners and their legislative allies on Monday renewed their effort to let patrons buy alcohol during the movies.
Supporters billed it as a way to help independent theaters and bring visitors to small downtowns across New York.
"This would create such a huge revenue source for us," said Ari Benmosche, owner of the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, Rockland County.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the issue one of his priorities for the legislative session that started in January, but the bill wasn't included in the state budget approved by the state Legislature on April 9.
Some lawmakers raised concerns about mixing movies and booze, and so they left the bill on the cutting room floor.
But the National Association of Theater Owners of New York State joined with beer producers, elected officials and business groups on Monday to urge the Legislature to reconsider, saying the bill would be a boon for their theaters and includes safety precautions.
“This legislation, at its core, will support job creation, drive millions of dollars back into New York’s economy, and by promoting and serving local beers, ciders, spirits, and wines, supporting New York agriculture,” said Joe Masher, the association's president.
The clock is ticking: The legislative session ends June 21 for the year.
Currently, movie theaters can serve alcohol in their lobby if they are a tavern license holder or have a full kitchen.
Cuomo's bill would let theaters apply for a permit to serve alcoholic beverages, regardless of whether they serve food or have tables.
The proposal would allow moviegoers to purchase one drink at a time, and drinks could only be served at PG-13 or R-rated movies.
A similar measure passed the Republican-led Senate last year, but it stalled in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
The governor is hopeful the measure will get legislative approval, said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
"It is a common sense issue that we absolutely support," he said.
There has been a push around the nation to let alcohol into the movies -- including in New York.
For example, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain opened a theater in Yonkers in 2013, and it sells alcohol because it serves food and has table settings.
The Little Theatre in Rochester also has a cafe that serves alcoholic beverages, but patrons aren't allowed to bring the drinks into the movies.
© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved