Senator Wiener Introduces Bill Allowing Cities to Choose to Extend Alcohol Sales to 4 AM

January 18, 2018

Sacramento –  Today Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced the introduction of  Senate Bill 905, which will allow – but not require – cities to extend sales of alcohol at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants (but not liquor stores) to as late as 4 a.m. The new 5-year pilot program version of the LOCAL Act, which stands for Let Our Communities Adjust Late-Night, preserves complete local control in terms of decision-making and applies only to the six cities whose Mayors have expressed interest in pursuing later hours: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood, and Long Beach. 

Last year, a different version of this bill authored by Senator Wiener (allowing local control throughout California), passed the Senate with a 2/3 bipartisan vote and garnered significant support in the Assembly. Unfortunately, the bill was “held” by the chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and not submitted for a vote by that committee. At the time, Senator Wiener vowed to bring back this effort to support nightlife. 

Senator Wiener held a November press conference in San Francisco to announce his intent to introduce this bill in modified form. At that press conference he was joined by nightlife advocates, bar owners, labor representatives, and business organizations. Watch the video of the press conference here:

“California is a diverse state with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs for nightlife, and we shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all closing time,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “Last year we had huge support for extending hours for bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and this renewed effort builds on that support. Nightlife is central to the culture and economy of many of our cities, and they should be empowered to choose to extend alcohol sales hours if they choose. This bill offers a nuanced and responsible approach to give cities local control to make this determination.”

The LOCAL Act continues to have bipartisan and geographically diverse support. In addition to Senator Wiener’s lead authorship, the bill is co-authored by Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia), and Reggie-Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).

“As the Assemblymember representing downtown Los Angeles, I am proud to again be a principal co-author of Senator Wiener’s legislation, to allow communities like ours to set their own alcohol beverage ‘closing times,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. “Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world.  Every day, we attract tourists from across the globe to experience everything our region has to offer, especially our vibrant nightlife. This narrowed proposal is a great step forward for our city and others across the state that thrive on evening entertainment.”

As a strong proponent of local control, I think it’s entirely appropriate for cities to determine what’s right for their community,” said Assemblymember Jay Obernolte. “Ultimately, I support giving each municipality the choice on how their local businesses operate without any state interference.”

SB 905 does not automatically extend alcohol sale hours in these six cities – it simply creates the option for the cities to choose to extend hours. As with the previous bill, cities will have significant flexibility and can, for example, limit extended hours only to certain neighborhoods, only to certain nights of the week, or only to a few nights a year. Local governments still will have to create and approve a plan, which ABC will also have to approve, to allow for later service hours with full community input. The bill also has a five-year sunset, which means the effects of allowing later service hours can be evaluated and then renewed or discontinued after five years. ​The full text of the bill can be found here.

The bill also has the support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman. (See quotes below) Before his recent passing, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee had been an early and strong supporter of SB 905. 

SB 905 is also supported by the California Restaurant Association, the California Travel Association, the California Music and Culture Association, the California Hotel and Lodging Association, UNITE-HERE AFL-CIO, the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, and numerous business and travel organizations located. 

The LOCAL Act establishes 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, including developing a public safety and transportation plan. Extended alcohol sale hours could be conditioned to include only specific days of the week or certain holidays. 


Quotes from Supporters

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: “In Oakland we embrace the cultural and economic benefits that nightlife brings to our community. Allowing our city to explore extending nightlife hours can bring more of that culture out of the shadows so that we have a stronger, safer nightlife.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “Cities should be able to choose for themselves whether extending nightlife hours would make sense for a community. This bill would give us the tools to look more closely at what is best for public safety and our economy, and to make those decisions at the local level.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “Cities should be able to choose for themselves whether extending nightlife hours would make sense for a community. This bill would give us the tools to look more closely at what is best for public safety and our economy, and to make those decisions at the local level.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “Sacramento is in the middle of a real revitalization, and we need more tools to draw visitors and conventions, as well as to support music and nightlife in our city. Through smart, responsible local decision-making, we can be a proud leader in the effort to expand and grow nightlife in California.”

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: “I want to thank Senator Wiener for including the City of Long Beach in this bill. While this bill clearly would not work citywide for us, it does give the city and local law enforcement the flexibility to allow special events in the Downtown Entertainment District. This option has been supported by the Downtown Long Beach Business Alliance, which manages our business improvement district.”

West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman: “Nightlife is an important part of West Hollywood, particularly for the LGBT community. Cities like ours have a history of supporting a vibrant nightlife that celebrates our culture and grows our local economy. Expanding access to nightlife is a great idea and we can do so in a responsible, tailored way.”

Quotes from Supporters

Ben Bleiman, California Music and Culture Association and the San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance: “This will would - finally! - allow these California cities who chose to do so to extend their operating hours to match other world-class nightlife cities in the U.S.A and abroad. Currently, we are at a huge disadvantage when competing with cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami Beach, and New Orleans, all of whom have late-night service hours beyond 2 a.m.”

Jessica Lall, President & CEO, Central City Association of Los Angeles: “The hospitality industry is a critical part of the economic and social landscape of Los Angeles and is helping to transform Downtown Los Angeles into a vibrant 24/7 destination. This bill will create jobs, increase local revenue and keep people Downtown. It gives residents and visitors the option to extend their visits at our world-class restaurants and entertainment venues.”

Gwyneth Borden, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association: “San Francisco is frequently ranked as the best food city in the United States, with tourists listing food as one of the top reasons for visiting, yet many are disappointed that our eateries close much earlier than in other parts of the world. Allowing for later hours of alcohol service makes it sustainable for restaurants to be able to offer greater dining options after 10 pm."

Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel Association: “Tourism is San Francisco’s number one industry providing significant economic benefits to the people and workforce of our City and our important small business network. Permitting bars to extend their hours allows San Francisco to stay competitive in the night life scene with cities such as New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. who are all vying for a share of the business, leisure and convention market.”

Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce: “We should determine at a city level how to best attract and support local nightlife businesses. We can’t take a one size fits all approach when it comes to nightlife in San Francisco neighborhoods. What’s best for one neighborhood might not be best for another, and this legislation allows us to capitalize on nightlife as an economic driver, increase jobs and local tax revenue, when deemed appropriate in a specific area of the City.”