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Governor OKs Return Of Happy Hour To Illinois

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that allows bars and restaurants to begin offering happy hour drink specials for the first time in more than 25 years.

Happy hour drink specials have been banned in Illinois since a 1989 law prohibited the prices of drinks from being changed during the course of the day. That law still allowed "happy days," so drink specials could be offered on specific days, but bar and restaurant owners have long said those are not as successful at drawing crowds.

The legislation signed into law Wednesday would allow bars and restaurants to offer discounted beer, wine, and spirits for up to 4 hours a day, and 15 hours a week.

Some restrictions would remain; happy hours could not be offered after 10 p.m., volume specials like two-for-one drinks still would be banned, and discounts would have to be posted at least 7 days in advance.

Proponents have said it will give business owners more flexibility to set prices, and more leverage with vendors, and allow them to be more creative in pairing food and drink offerings.

Happy hour specials were banned over concerns about excessive drinking and drunk driving. The legislation signed by Rauner would require training for anyone who serves alcoholic drinks, to help them spot signs of intoxication.

The law takes effect immediately.

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