Scott Wiener's Latest 4 A.M. Last Call Bill Clears Senate, Heads To Assembly
Remember that bill to extend alcohol service hours in select California cities, once a dream of former State Senator Mark Leno, and more recently taken up multiple times by State Senator Scott Wiener? Well it's back alive, and there's a new governor in office who might not veto it.
Wiener's bill cleared the Senate with bipartisan support last year, only to get vetoed last September by Governor Jerry Brown. Not thought of as a conservative in any demonstrable ways, the elder statesman Brown sided with the CHP in the end, saying at the time, "California's laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem."
I'll just cut-and-paste from my previous post on this from December, and update my timeline:
To be clear, this bill would not "make last call be 4AM" or even "make last call be 4AM in San Francisco". No, doing that would make San Francisco behave like world-class cities that value tourism. This bill isn't that.
This bill would allow SF the option of issuing additional permits -- expensive permits -- to a handful of venues, allowing those venues and only those venues to serve alcohol between the hours of 2AM and 4AM, as part of a 5-year-limited trial program, to begin "no earlier than Jan 1, 2022".
So it will be good for those businesses who get to be a part of that program -- and, assuming we haven't gone out of business by then, we're going to do our damnedest to be a part of that program -- but it's not really going to change the character of SF nightlife in any significant way. Almost all bars will still close at 2, and you still won't be able to get anywhere by public transit after midnight.
I mean, at this rate we might have a Central Subway or a Transit Center before you can legally have a drink at 3AM.
Here's a brief recap of this ongoing shitshow. I can't believe how long I've been blogging about this:
- Apr 2003: Senator Leno introduced SB 635; it was defeated by not getting 6 votes in the Senate.
- Feb 2004: The SF Board of Supervisors, via Peskin, passed a resolution "urging" the legislators to allow SF, LA and SD to set their own last call times.
- Apr 2004: The bill was strangled by not being allowed to move out of committee.
- Mar 2004: Leno tried again, AB 2433. Defeated by not getting 6 votes.
- May 2009: An interlude where I tell you about the Neo-prohibitionists organizations trying to stop this bill.
- Mar 2012: Weiner got an Economic Impact Study done proving that yes, nightlife is an important industry.
- Mar 2013: Leno re-introduced his bill as SB 635.
- Apr 2013: Defeated again by not getting 6 votes.
- Feb 2017: Weiner introduced his version of the bill, even more narrow in scope.
- Mar 2017: It passed the Public Safety Committee, and then was allowed to die silently.
- Jan 2018: Weiner re-introduced it as SB 905.
- Sep 2018: It passed the State Senate 28-8.
- Sep 2018: As one of his last acts in office, Governor Brown vetoed it.
- Dec 2018: Weiner is trying again with SB 58.
- May 2019: Passed Senate 29-6.