How late is too late to the keep the booze flowing?
Senator Scott Wiener's LOCAL [Let Our Communities Adjust Late-night] Act has become the first bill ever to pass the Senate to allow – but not require – local communities to extend alcohol sales hours in bars and restaurants past 2 a.m.
Places with active bar scenes could serve alcohol as late as 4 a.m.
"I love it. Why not?" said Frederick Adams who works in the restaurant industry. "It would suck for employees and if you're not working it would be a good thing. I work in the restaurant business so I would hate that, personally, but I think it would bring in more business for restaurants and bars."
Sen. Wiener's office says the LOCAL Act is supported by a broad coalition of statewide organizations, including the California Restaurant Association, the California Travel Association, the California Hotel and Lodging Association, the California Music and Culture Association, UNITE-HERE, and the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council.
We snagged some Facetime with Sen. Wiener when he first introduced the bill.
"My aunt was killed by a drunk driver in the 70's when I was a kid. It was devastating to our family," Sen. Wiener said. "I'm very sensitive to drunk driving, but I don't think this will increase drunk driving at all. This bill is really about local control and local communities deciding for themselves in terms of what makes sense to allow alcohol service. It's long passed due. Word class cities have great nightlife."
The LOCAL Act will establish a process involving local government, local law enforcement, the general public, and the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to extend the hours of alcohol sales to a specified time between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m in specific areas. Extended alcohol sale hours could be conditioned to include only specific days of the week or certain holidays.
Local governing bodies, if they choose, will first develop and approve a local plan showing that public necessity and convenience will be served by extending alcohol service hours. The local plan must identify which areas will be eligible for extended hours, as well as a law enforcement assessment regarding impact on public safety. The local plan must exhibit resident and business support, as well as the availability of transportation services. Once the local plan authorizing extended alcohol sales is approved, a business must then apply to ABC for an extended hours license.
The bill now heads the state assembly. The earliest it could come up for a final vote is September.