A few months ago, we mentioned Senate Bill 58, a bill that hoped to extend California’s last call to 4 a.m. After previous attempts have been thwarted, it comes as no surprise that the bill in its original state was barred by the Assembly. However, a recent revision of the bill holds promise.
Backed by Senator Scott Weiner, the revised bill proposes a pilot program for a period of five years – from 2022 to 2027 – allowing bars in 10 different California cities to extend their last call to 3 a.m. Although it is not the 4 a.m. call as originally presented, this offers an hour extension of the current last call time. The 10 cities that are considered in the revised bill are Cathedral City, Coachella, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco, and West Hollywood.
Through the program, the California Highway Patrol will frequently produce reports for each of the participating cities. These reports will include data such as DUI rates and alcohol-related accidents. To allow Congress a way to asses changes and trends, each city will create and send out annual reports.
Supporters tend to highlight the positive impact on the economy that could come from extended bar time. By extending call, there is more time for patrons to spend their money on drinks. Extra time also allows for a more active nightlife, giving the city a more attractive atmosphere. With more money flowing into the restaurants and bars, the bartenders and servers will have the opportunity to work additional hours.
On the other side, members like Assemblyman Tom Lackey emphasize the idea that extended drinking time will likely increase the possibility of drunk driving. People will have to be even more vigilant in preserving public safety and protecting themselves. In regard to this, Lackey stated, “Having spent 18 years as a CHP officer working these hours, I have direct knowledge of the tragedy that’s associated when alcohol-impaired driving is coupled with the extreme fatigue that we also see in drivers between 2 and 4 a.m.”
The vote is expected to occur before the end of this legislative session.