Bar Time: A Later Last Call (VETOED)

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

SB 905 would allow nine California cities to keep bars open until 4 a.m., should they choose to. State law currently bans alcohol from being served past 2 a.m. As part of a five-year pilot program to launch in 2021, the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Coachella could extend last call for two more hours. Those cities would be free to restrict the added hours to certain days of the week or to bars in certain neighborhoods.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

Introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, Democrat from San Francisco, the bill was backed by prominent business, nightlife and tourism groups including the California Chamber of Commerce and Uber. Several big city mayors also voiced support, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

WHO’S OPPOSED

Organizations dedicated to alcohol and drug abuse prevention, who worry that an extended last call would result in more alcohol-related crimes, injuries and drunk driving. Major law enforcement groups did not take a stand on the bill.

WHY IT MATTERS 

Envious of places like New York City, urbanites across California chafe against the statewide 2 a.m. curfew. Wiener floated a more comprehensive bill last year that would have allowed any city in California to change its last call cutoff. If successful, the pilot program could loosen last call times across the state.

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Vetoed by Governor Brown on September 28, 2018.

From the governor’s veto message: “California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”

—Matt Levin