Proposed law would let bars stay open until 4 a.m.

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego opponents of legislation that would allow cities around the state to extend the closing time for bars to 4 a.m., from the current 2 a.m., said Tuesday the bill would create problems that would spread into the community.

The substance abuse prevention advocates spoke out against SB 384, introduced by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. They proposed to allow the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to license establishments to sell adult drinks for an extra two hours if the business complies with local requirements.

 

Wiener calls the bill the Local Act.

"Nightlife is crucial to the economy and culture of many of our cities, and we should be doing more to empower our communities to support nightlife," Wiener said.

He said the bill, which passed the state Senate and is now before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, is a "nuanced approach to empower -- but not require -- local communities to extend alcohol sales hours."

Lisa Bridges of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance said it was "really crazy" that someone would put bar profits over public safety.

The San Diego opponents -- who also included representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Pacific Beach Community Planning Group -- contend that an extension would create extra burdens for law enforcement, strain the ABC and exacerbate crime.

In comments in March to the publication CityBeat, Anderson said, "You always run the risk of DUIs whether it's 4 o'clock in the morning or 2 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I think you can stay out past 2 a.m. and not overdo it."

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