CALIFORNIA—State senator Mark Leno has proposed a new law that would allow alcohol to be served in restaurants and nightclubs until 4 a.m. Currently, restaurants stop serving alcoholic beverages to patrons at 2 in the morning, but this new bill would allow them to extend this cut-off point to two more hours.
This proposal is something that has half the state on edge and the other half excited for this new development. In regards to the bill, Leno says “the bill offers cities an opportunity to create jobs, expand business, and increase tax revenue.”
Since restaurants are given the option whether or not they wish to extend their alcohol service until 4 a.m., Leno says it “imposes nothing on anybody; it merely authorizes the opportunity." In other words, restaurants and nightclubs can stop serving alcohol when their establishment sees fit, but this new legislation would give them the allowance to continue serving alcohol until 4 a.m. and letting them remain open for late-comers as well.
Other states and cities that serve alcohol until 4 am. include New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. Leno uses these regions as an example that an extended alcohol policy would help to expand restaurants and stimulate the city’s and state’s economy. According to the supporters of this legislation, California is one of the top states in the U.S. who have a booming nightlife and would benefit greatly from the extended alcohol service.
Some concerns have been raised by California citizens when it comes to Leno’s proposal. The main fear that Californians have is the increase in drunk driving and a decrease in the safety of citizens as a result.
Supporters of the bill argue that having a strict closing time of 2 a.m. actually creates a greater risk of drunk driving and other reckless activities because individuals feel pressure to leave and drive home, whereas extending the serving of alcohol to 4 a.m. is suggested to allow patrons to stop drinking earlier and leave at a time they feel is better for them to get home safely.
Although both supporters and those who are against this legislation have their own key arguments in regards to Leno’s proposal, the proposal is fairly new and still subject to change. The law would not affect convenience stores and other establishments that sell alcohol and they will continue to stop selling at their usual time.
Mark Leno’s proposal only allows places that serve alcoholic beverages, such as restaurants and nightclubs, the option to continue to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.
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