Senator Wiener Announces Growing Bipartisan Support for Granting Local Communities Ability to Extend Alcohol Service Hours

March 9, 2017

Today Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced growing bipartisan support for the LOCAL Act – which will allow (but not require) local communities to extend alcohol service hours in bars and restaurants up to 4 AM. Joining Senator Wiener as legislative co-authors are Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), Senator Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica), Assemblymember Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia), and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). Assemblymember Dabebneh will be the principal co-author in the Assembly and Senator Anderson will be joint author in the Senate.

“The bipartisan support for this bill shows that we can all work together to support nightlife, which is a positive contributor to our culture and economy,” said Senator Wiener. “California is a large and diverse state, and the LOCAL Act recognizes this fact by granting each city local control over whether or not to extend alcohol service hours. I want to thank Assemblymembers Dababneh and Obernolte, and Senators Anderson and Allen for showing leadership in signing onto this commonsense bill to give cities more flexibility to support nightlife.”

 “As a co-author of the LOCAL Act, I look forward to working with Senator Scott Wiener to give communities in our state more jurisdiction to decide what is best for them,” said Assemblymember Dababneh. “This bipartisan effort has the potential to bring increased revenues and make California a more attractive destination for conferences and other major events.”

The LOCAL Act will give the communities in my district freedom to enact policies that work best for them,” said Senator Anderson. “I am pleased to joint author SB 384 to reduce government interference in the lives of responsible adults.”

 “As a strong proponent of local control, I feel that municipalities should have the right to determine what’s appropriate for their community,” said Assemblymember Obernolte. “Cities should be at liberty to allow their local businesses to operate without governmental intrusion from the state.”

In addition, the LOCAL Act received positive support from the Sacramento Bee in an editorial titled: Bars open until 4 a.m.? Why not?

“When people hear about this bill, they assume every neighborhood bar in every community across California is going to stay open until 4 a.m.,” Wiener told a member of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board. “This bill is about local control.”

In towns where residents think SB 384 is the worst idea ever and where peace and quiet are prized, elected officials could choose to maintain earlier closing times. Nothing would change.

In addition, the Sacramento Bee goes on to add:

No matter what, cities would have to work with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to come up with safety plans for communities that want to extend drinking hours to 4 a.m. Those kinds of checks and balances are the only way to ensure that all of us in California won’t have a collective hangover if SB 384 passes.

The LOCAL Act is supported by a broad coalition, including the California Restaurant Association, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, California Hotel and Lodging Association, Hotel Council SF, SF Travel, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.  California’s nighttime industry, including food service, bars/clubs, restaurants, and live music, generate many billions of dollars in consumer spending and employ well over a million Californians. Tourism in California generated $117.5 billion in spending in 2014 and supported over a million jobs.

American cities with late-night service hours beyond 2 a.m. include Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Louisville, Atlanta, Miami Beach, New Orleans, and Atlanta.

The LOCAL Act will establish a process involving local government, local law enforcement, the general public, and the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to extend the hours of alcohol sales to a specified time between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m in specific areas. Extended alcohol sale hours could be conditioned to include only specific days of the week or certain holidays.

Local governing bodies, if they choose, will first develop and approve a local plan showing that public necessity and convenience will be served by extending alcohol service hours. The local plan must identify which areas will be eligible for extended hours, as well as a law enforcement assessment regarding impact on public safety. The local plan must exhibit resident and business support, as well as the availability of transportation services. Once the local plan authorizing extended alcohol sales is approved, a business must then apply to ABC for an extended hours license.