SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Bars in California will continue to close by 2 am after a proposal to allow them to stay open later failed in the Assembly.
Senate Bill 58 would have allowed bars in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Coachella, Cathedral City, Fresno, and Palm Springs to extend last call hours from the current 2 am to 3 am starting January 1, 2022. Bars would have been allowed to start applying for the extended license in January 2020.
An original version would have extended last call to 4 am, but it was amended in the Assembly before failing on a 29-5 vote (15 Assemblymembers did not vote.)
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill, SB 905, earlier in 2018, citing concerns raised by the California Highway Patrol over an increase in drunk driving.
"California's laws regulating late-night drinking have been on the books since 1913," Gov. Brown said in his veto. "I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to two without adding two more hours of mayhem."
Alcohol Beverage Control estimated the proposal would cost:
- $600,000 one-time in 2020-21 to develop pilot program
- Ongoing annual costs of $2 million starting in 2021-22 to cover program development, licensing, enforcement (paid for by application fee/annual licensing fee)
- Hundreds of thousands in one-time costs for CHP to participate in local task force (from Motor Vehicles Account)
- Ongoing cost of $4,000 to the Department of Justice for enforcement (Legal Services Revolving Fund, General Fund)
Even if SB 58 had become law, the cities listed wouldn't have automatically been allowed to extend last call. Instead, cities would have needed to adopt a local ordinance the Alcohol Control Board would be responsible for approving. ABC would also needed to approve or deny applications submitted by bars looking to close later and would have based the decision on a number of criteria, including:
- Requires that all persons engaged in the sale or service of alcohol during the additional hours period complete a responsible beverage-training course.
- Prohibits the additional hours' license to be transferred between on-sale licensed premises.
- Requires ABC, upon receipt of an application, to make a thorough investigation, including whether the additional hours would unreasonably interfere with the quiet enjoyment of their property by the residents of the local community.
- Authorizes ABC to deny an application if the issuance of that license would tend to create a law enforcement problem or if issuance would result in or add to an undue concentration of licenses.
- Requires the applicant to notify the law enforcement agencies of the city, the residents of the city located within 500 feet of the premises for which an additional hours license is sought, and any other interested parties, as determined by the local governing body, within 30 consecutive days of the filing of the application.
A number of cities nationwide have similar laws, including Chicago, Washington, DC, New York City, Buffalo, Las Vegas, and Louisville.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has spoken in support of a later last call hour, noting how it would help in the revitalization of the downtown district.
"This legislation gives us the flexibility to tailor our nightlife scene to attract tourists and conventions while protecting the character of our quieter residential neighborhoods," Steinberg said in a statement.
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