California Lawmakers Reject Bill to Extend Bar Hours Until 4 a.m

On Wednesday, California legislators voted down a bill that would have extended the hours that bars, nightclubs, and restaurants serving alcohol can stay open on weekends (West Hollywood, San Francisco, and Palm Springs).

State senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 930, which would have let any city to sell alcohol until 4 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and select holidays, and until 3 a.m. on all other days. The existing law allows those businesses to serve alcohol until 2 in the morning.

After the bill was defeated in the Assembly, Wiener and Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) released a statement defending SB 930 as a “local control law” that gives localities the power to select what kind of nightlife is best for their neighborhoods and small businesses. We’re trying to figure out what our options are for getting the measure off the floor of parliament.

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Wiener has claimed that the longer hours would have benefited small firms who are still trying to recover from the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak. He also claimed that the increased LGBTQ community unity in West Hollywood, San Francisco, and Palm Springs would have resulted from the addition of nightlife to those areas. The mayors of the three cities had all specifically requested to be a part of the pilot.

Wiener proposed a similar bill in 2018, but it was shot down by the sitting administration. Brown, Jerry.

Adding further two hours of turmoil was “not necessary,” Brown said in his veto statement.

Once again, Wiener attempted to pass a bill in 2019 that would have legalized alcohol sales in 10 communities, but it was defeated in the Assembly. Its most recent version was ratified by the Senate with an overwhelming majority in May, but the Assembly rejected it on Wednesday.

Concerns that more low-alcohol drivers would be on the road as a result of the bill’s extended hours were raised by both Republicans and Democrats during the debate on the Assembly floor.

“Extending these hours of duty for people to become incapacitated, along with the fatigue element, which also poses an extraordinary threat to public safety, is begging for death. MP Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a former sergeant with the California Highway Patrol, said, “I predict there will be a fatality, an unnecessary death, if we enact this law.

This was deemed a “misleading” argument by Wiener and Haney. Speaking in favor of the bill on the Assembly floor, Haney stated that there has been no rise in drunk driving incidents in jurisdictions where bars and nightclubs remain open past 2 a.m., such as New York and Hawaii.

According to the results, “we discovered there was no association between states with later closing times and greater rates of drunk driving,” Haney stated. We need to reevaluate the top-down, cookie-cutter approach we’ve taken to the state’s nightlife. It stifles enterprise and hurts the economy.

Haney asked for a reconsideration of the bill after it had been rejected, a procedural step with a remote prospect of success.

In California, pubs and restaurants can sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. Over eighty years have passed with these regulations still in place.