In January, California state Senator Scott Wiener, introduced a bill titled LOCAL (Let Our Communities Adjust Late-Night) in Sacramento. This bill (SB 905) is proposed as a five-year pilot program which would allow the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and West Hollywood to choose to extend their bar hours until 4 am.
“To be clear, this bill will not automatically extend alcohol sales hours in bars, nightclubs, and restaurants in these cities. Rather, it will simply create local control by allowing locally elected officials (i.e. the city council or Board of Supervisors) in the six cities to deliberate and decide if it makes sense to extend hours,” wrote the Senator.
These local officials can decide what areas within the cities would extend their bar hours, along with how late and when (for example particular days of the week or year). Liquor stores would not be included in this bill.
Earlier last year, Senator Scott Wiener had introduced a similar bill (SB 384), which would have allowed every city in the state of California to extend their sale of alcohol to as late as 4 am. Though the bill had passed the Senate with a 2/3 bipartisan vote, the bill was ultimately rejected in the Assembly during its committee hearing.
Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director of Alcohol Justice, an industry watchdog that promotes and brings awareness to alcohol policies and safety, is shocked that the bill is being reintroduced.
Livingston feels that later closing times for bars would put communities in danger, and extend issues related with alcohol, such as assault and DUI, into the morning hours, when commuters begin to drive to work.
“It’s a small incentive for bar owners, but it’s a terrible economic burden and social burden on police, first responders, emergency room services,” said Livingston.
He added, “Yes, people want to stay out late and party. That’s fine. They can do it in their homes if they’re of legal age.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, if the bill is passed, it will be the first time since 1935 that the hours for alcohol sales have changed.