Bill to Allow Communities to Choose to Extend Alcohol Service Hours to 4 AM Clears First Senate Committee

March 28, 2017

Sacramento –  Today the Senate Governmental Organization Committee approved Senate Bill 384, a bill authored by Senator Scott Wiener to allow – but not require – local communities to extend alcohol service to as late as 4 AM. The LOCAL Act, which stands for Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night, now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee's action today represents the first time a committee of the California Legislature has ever approved this bill.

SB 384 enjoys bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature. Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) is Senator Wiener's joint author in the Senate, and Assemblymembers Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) are the principal co-authors in the Assembly. The LOCAL Act is also co-authored by Senator Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) and Assemblymember Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia).

“We can and should empower local communities to make responsible decisions about nightlife in our state,” said Senator Wiener. “Nightlife is an important part of the culture and economy of many cities throughout our large and diverse state, and the LOCAL Act recognizes this fact by granting local control to extend hours of alcohol sales. This nuanced approach will help us support nightlife, while also respecting communities that prefer to keep alcohol service hours as they are.”

The LOCAL Act was approved with Senators Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), Steve Bradford (D-Gardena), Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Catherine Galgiani (D-Stockton), Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), and Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) in support.

The LOCAL Act is supported by a broad coalition of statewide organizations, including the California Restaurant Association, the California Travel Association, the California Hotel and Lodging Association, the California Music and Culture Association, UNITE-HERE, AFL-CIO, and the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council. It has received support from local governments and organizations across the state, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the City of Oakland, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Hotel Council SF, SF Travel, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance, and UBER.

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. 20 states allow alcohol sales after 2 AM.

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.