Poised to retain control over the number of local liquor licenses allotted to cities and towns, House lawmakers on Sunday advanced legislation meting out nine more liquor licenses to Foxborough and four to Dracut.
In a bill reforming municipal laws, Gov. Charlie Baker and the Senate agreed with granting local licensing authorities the power to determine how many restaurants can serve beer, wine and cocktails. Baker's version would have maintained state restrictions on Boston's licensing, while the Senate would have allowed Boston and other municipalities control over licenses within their borders.
The municipal reform legislation agreed to by a closed-door conference committee of House and Senate members on Saturday did not include that transfer of power.
At the start of a rare Sunday session, the House gave initial approval to three bills authorizing additional liquor licenses in different parts of the town where the New England Patriots play. The House also advanced a bill granting four more liquor licenses to Dracut.
Critics of the current system say it slows down economic development that is tied to alcohol licensing. The system does allow alcohol licenses to flow with the assistance of state representatives and senators who are able to move licenses fairly regularly through the legislature.