California state senator proposes bill to extend alcohol sales to 4 a.m.

Image courtesy of KRON

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A California state Senator has announced plans to introduce a bill that would change last call for alcohol in California from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

The first version of the bill would have changed last call from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. for the entire state. This new version would be limited and include tougher restrictions.

Last call in California has been 2 a.m. for decades. But state Sen. Scott Weiner believes that the one size fits all rule is outdated and that there are real financial and social benefits of moving closing time to back 4 a.m.

“Nightlife is part of our culture. Live music, dancing, this is part of who we are,” Weiner said. “It also generates an enormous number of jobs, middle class jobs, where people can afford to raise their families so we should support that sector.”

After Weiner’s first attempt at changing the law, SB 384, died in committee earlier this year, the senator reworked the plan, including making one key change.

“This time we are limiting it to the six cities who expressed interest in going past 2 a.m.,” Weiner said.

Those cities include San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Long Beach.

If the bill becomes law, those cities would be able to decide for themselves how the 4 a.m. last call would be implemented.

The bill also requires that cities develop public safety and transportation plans and to get approval from state regulators.

“There are so many safety valves in this legislation that we wanted it to be done safely and professionally,” Weiner said.

In San Francisco’s Cow Hollow, a neighborhood with an active nightlife, the plan was met with skeptical support from neighbors.

At the Blue Light along Union Street, General Manager John Ward said he thought last call should stay where it is.

“I think 2 a.m. is late enough,” Ward said. “We have enough after-hours entertainment in this city. Or they can take it home and party at their houses.”

Weiner says he knows people will have concerns but believes it should be up to local governments to decide.

“UItimately, it will be a local decision for each city to say, “Do we want to do this?” Weiner said.

Weiner plans to re-introduce the revised bill, called the Local Act, in January.

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