A valiant effort by state Senator Scott Wiener to allow California cities to extend last call at bars and clubs to 4 a.m. appears yet again dead in the water. As the Chronicle reports, the bill was "gutted" by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday, replacing the language of the bill with "a task force to study the implications of allowing bars to stay open later." The task force will now need to return its findings to the committee in 2019.
The group Alcohol Justice declared victory Friday with a press release, saying, "That bill was bad for California residents, their public health and public safety. The people of California won today! We don't need to increase taxpayers’ money in police and emergency services.” The alcohol industry watchdog group had opposed the bill, claiming that Wiener lied about there being no science or evidence to suggest there are dangerous public health and safety implications to extending last call by two hours.
Wiener issued a statement saying he would not be giving up on the issue and "It’s embarrassing that California shuts down its nightlife so early. Nightlife matters to our economy and culture, and California's one-size-fits-all approach to closing time needs to be reformed.”
Wiener's bill, which would have allowed cities that wanted to to opt in to a 4 a.m. booze cutoff time, was similar to one put forward multiple times by former state senator Mark Leno, most recently in 2013.
Wiener's bill had more momentum and had advanced further through the legislative process, however, so nightlife industry folk and those who don't like to shut the party down at 2 a.m. were hopeful. But, alas, the critics and ninnies won out. Again.