SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced legislation on Friday that would allow seven California cities to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m., instead of the current state closing time at 2 a.m.
Wiener, speaking at the Beaux nightclub in San Francisco’s Castro district, said the cities that would get special permission in the bill are San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Fresno, Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Coachella. .
“We know nightlife is incredibly important,” Wiener said, adding that it “is really part of our cultural heart here in San Francisco and elsewhere. When you think of people moving into town, there are many reasons, and one of them is the vibrant nightlife.
It’s the third time Wiener has tried to push back the last call until later in the morning. A bill passed by the Legislature in 2018 was vetoed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, who said in his veto message that he believed the bill would lead to misconduct. more drunk.
“I think we have enough mischief from midnight to two o’clock without adding two more hours of mayhem,” Brown said.
In 2019, the bill failed in the State Assembly.
Wiener said he doesn’t know Governor Gavin Newsom’s position on the matter.
Wiener’s co-sponsor is new California State Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), who represents the city’s east end in that body.
“A few more hours, in many cases, will be the difference for them in their ability to survive,” Haney said of the bars. “It does not oblige anyone to do anything. This gives seven cities, including ours, the opportunity to do what works for them.
Rafael Mandelman, who represents the Castro and Noe Valley neighborhoods on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, called the issue local control. What makes sense in a rural part of the state may not make sense in a more urban area, he said.
“Coming out of the pandemic, as we consider the future of San Francisco, the future of our cities — cities around the world have nightlife that exceeds two in the morning,” Mandelman said. “As a local elected official who sometimes gets irritated with people in Sacramento who want to take power away from me, I’m thrilled.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has opposed legislation that expands the sale of alcohol, such as a 2017 Colorado bill that would also have allowed different cities to have different closing times. MADD did not respond to a request for comment from KRON4 at press time.
Wiener said “it’s strange” that California has a closing time of 2 a.m., and indeed in many places the last call is later, such as in New York where the closing time is at 4 a.m. Wiener said his aunt was killed by a drunk driver when he was a child and so the issue is very sensitive for him.
“If someone’s going to drive drunk, they’re going to take a reckless step ‘no matter what time the bar closes,'” he said.
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