Senator Wiener Re-Introduces Bill Allowing Cities to Choose to Extend Nightlife Alcohol Sales to 4 AM
San Francisco – Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced the re-introduction of Senate Bill 58, which allows – but does not require – nine pilot 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 nine cities whose Mayors or City Councils have expressed interest in pursuing later hours: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood, and Long Beach, Coachella, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs.
Earlier this year, this same bill, numbered SB 905 and authored by Senator Wiener, passed the Legislature with broad bi-partisan support, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. At the time, Senator Wiener vowed to bring back this effort to support nightlife, culture, music, tourism, small businesses, and middle class jobs.
As with the previous version of the bill, each city will decide for itself whether to remain at California’s blanket 2 a.m. closing time or extend later. And, as with the previous version, cities that choose to extend hours will have to go through a community outreach process, work with law enforcement agencies, and formulate public safety and transportation plans.
“California’s diverse cities deserve laws that fit their economic and cultural needs,” said Senator Wiener. “California’s century-old, rigid 2 a.m. closing time - which applies equally in large urban areas and small farm towns - stifles our nighttime economy. Nightlife is so important for the culture and economy of our cities. We should embrace nightlife and give local communities the ability to tailor their nightlife to their own needs. Nightlife brings people together, fosters creativity and innovation, supports small businesses, and creates middle class jobs. It’s time to embrace our nighttime economy and give our cities the tools they need to foster the best nightlife possible.”
SB 58 does not automatically extend alcohol sale hours in these nine cities – it simply creates the option for the cities to choose to extend hours or to stick with the current 2 a.m. closing time. Cities will have significant flexibility and can, for example, limit extended hours only to certain neighborhoods or streets, 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. Each extended hours permit will also have to go through normal ABC review, with full public notice. The bill 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 LOCAL Act continues to have bipartisan and geographically diverse support. Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), and Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) will co-author the legislation. SB 58 also has the support of San Francisco Travel, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Bar Alliance, the California Music and Culture Association, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, CalTravel, Lyft, and Uber.
“Every community has its own needs, and cities should be able to make informed decisions about what nightlife hours make sense for residents, visitors, and neighborhoods," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "This bill would give us an opportunity to look more closely at what is best for public safety and our economy, and to make those choices locally.”
“Sacramento’s entertainment districts are flourishing, and the new Golden 1 Center has added energy to downtown,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “This legislation gives us the flexibility to tailor our nightlife scene to attract tourists and conventions while protecting the character of our quieter residential neighborhoods.”
“SB 905 would allow cities with nighttime entertainment districts to extend their hours of alcohol service to 4 a.m. with appropriate regulations to address potential neighborhood impacts,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John J. Duran. “West Hollywood has always been an exciting place for Southern California nightlife and entertainment. We should work with our residents and chamber of commerce to keep West Hollywood as a major tourist destination.”
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. Local communities also have complete flexibility to permit alcohol sale hours to include only specific days of the week or certain holidays.