Legislature Sends Governor Bill to Keep Party Going

California's 4 a.m. last call bar bill is up for reconsideration under Gov. Gavin Newsom, founder of PlumpJack winery. Jerry Brown vetoed it last year. (Getty Images)

Bars and restaurants in nine California cities could extend the service of alcohol until 4:00 a.m., under a bill passed by the State Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 905 would give San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Palm Springs and Sacramento the option to license alcohol sales beyond the current 2:00 a.m. cutoff.

“California’s one-size-fits-all closing time doesn’t make sense,” reasoned Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who carried the legislation in order to match some of the state’s ‘last-calls’ to places like New York and Las Vegas.

More than a dozen Republicans in the Legislature supported the measure, largely because of its limited scope and the ability for cities to opt-in to the later hours.

“I’m probably the last person you’d expect to find in a bar at two o’clock in the morning,” said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear) on Wednesday. “But I’m a big proponent of local control.”

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Opponents of the measure said the adverse effects of late-night drinking, namely drunk driving, cannot be contained within a city’s limits.

A similar bill pushed by Wiener failed last year. It would have allowed any California city to opt-in to later alcohol sales, as opposed to the current reigned-in version.

If signed by Gov. Brown, SB 905 would start a five-year pilot program, beginning in 2021.

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