In the Doghouse

Third Time’s the Harm: 4 A.M. Bar Bill Back for 2019

sb905 girlonsidewalkThere is tenacity, there is stubbornness, and then there is a determination to ignore the health and wellbeing of your constituents no matter what you’ve learned. Call it “Wienerness.” In 2017, California State Sen. Scott Wiener introduced a bill to strip away California’s standardized 2 a.m. last call times. Rather than agree to study the impacts of the bill, Sen. Wiener pulled it then reintroduced it in 2018, this time as a geographically limited “pilot project”. After the senator began arbitrarily adding new cities to the “pilot,” Gov. Jerry Brown put the brakes on it with a veto.

“I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to two without adding two more hours of mayhem,” the then-Governor wrote in his veto message.

And now Sen. Wiener continues his campaign of contempt for evidence-based policy. The 4 a.m. bar bill has been reintroduced for a third time, in violation of the spirit of senate rules that discourage reintroducing failed bills in consecutive sessions. The new—but functionally identical—bill, SB 58, opens up ten of the largest cities in California to late last calls. This would have the effect of dramatically raising rates of violence, injury, crime, and driving under the influence. Moreover, because the bill affects such major metropolitan areas, it creates a “splash effect,” wherein outlying towns and cities are burdened with intoxicated late-night traffic while the economic benefits accrue only in the big city centers.

“Later bar times benefit business owners while the cost of cleaning up spilled blood and splattered brains after 4 a.m. will come from public resources,” warns Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice.

It is time to hold Sen. Wiener accountable for his overt lies about last call times. Decades of research from across the developed world show that maintaining a sensible last call time lessens alcohol harms. Californians need to stand up to representatives who just channel their corporate clients, and end the 4 a.m. fiasco for good.

TAKE ACTION to stop the 4 A.M. bar bill for the third time, or text "JUSTICE" to 313131

READ MORE about the harms of extending last call times