California Lawmaker Proposes Expanding Alcohol Service Hours to 4 A.M.

A late night at the bar might get later if Senate Bill 635 is approved

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Thursday, Mar 14, 2013  |  Updated 2:24 PM PDT
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A state lawmaker's proposal would allow restaurants and bars in California the option of expanding alcohol service hours to 4 a.m. -- two hours later than allowed under current law.

Full Text: SB 635

Senate Bill 635 was authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). The bill gives local communities the option of expanding alcohol service hours, and establishments would go through an approval process that  would allow for late-night service.

"This legislation would allow destination cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego to start local conversations about the possibility of expanding nightlife and the benefits it could provide the community by boosting jobs, tourism and local tax revenue," Leno said in a statement.

Current state law allows for alcohol service between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. for on- and off-sale establishments. Leno's proposal only applies to on-sale businesses, such as nightclubs, bars and restaurant.

The bill, scheduled for committee hearings in the spring, does not apply to liquor stores.

In his announcement, Leno cited economic issues behind the proposal. Expanded service would better position Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego to compete for tourism dollars with Chicago, Las Vegas and New York City, he said.

He also mentioned safety issues.

"Uniform closing times put significant stress on public transportation systems and the law enforcement agencies tasked with managing and dispersing large crowds of patrons when they all leave the clubs at 2 a.m.," Leno said.

Under the plan, local communities could submit a plan to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

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