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4 a.m alcohol sales would be allowed in 6 California cities under Senate approved bill

A pilot programming allowing a 4 a.m. last call for serving alcohol in six California cities crossed a major hurdle today when the state Senate approved the bill.

Senate Bill 905 would implement a 5-year pilot program that gives those cities the option to extend alcohol sales at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants to 4 a.m. Liquor stores are excluded from the bill.

“Nightlife in California is crucial to our culture and our economy,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill, said in a statement. “This bill allows for local control over nightlife – granting flexibility to cities to allow bars to stay open later in certain neighborhoods or for special events if that’s what the community decides is best.”

The bill, which would go into effect January 1, 2021, only applies to cities whose mayors have said they support the bill:

  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • West Hollywood

Those cities would have significant flexibility to implement the bill. For example, they could limit extended hours to specific neighborhoods and nights of the week as well as the number of nights a year.

Local governments would have to create and approve a plan, which ABC will also have to approve, to allow for later service hours with full community input.

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The 5-year pilot program, called the LOCAL Act, Let Our Communities Adjust Late-Night, does not obligate any business in the six cities to remain open.

Wiener introduced a similar piece of legislation last year that would have applied to the entire state, but it died in committee.

The bill moves to the Assembly, which has until August 31 to approve it. If approved, the governor would have to sign it by September 30.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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