Capitol Alert

‘We have enough mischief:’ Jerry Brown vetoes later bar closing times.

Gov. Jerry Brown is known to have a drink or two, but he believes there is “enough mischief” at California bars open until 2 a.m.

He vetoed a measure Friday that would have extended last call by two hours in nine California cities.

“Without question, these two extra hours will result in more drinking,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”

Senate Bill 905 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would have authorized bars in Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco and West Hollywood to stay open until 4 a.m as part of a pilot program beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

The bill also required that the California Highway Patrol provide the Legislature with a report on the regional impact of the new law by no later than Jan. 1, 2025. The Legislature then would have had until 2026 to either extend the law or allow it to expire. Brown’s veto message said the CHP believed the bill would result in more drunk driving.

In a statement, Wiener sais the law is outdated. “We should embrace and support our nightlife industry which brings billions of revenue to our state and employs millions of people,” he said. “It is a shame that we will continue to stifle our nightlife economy, but I remain committed to modernizing these outdated laws.”

A legislative analysis of the bill identifies several other major cities, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City and others, that also have extended alcohol-service hours.

The bill was opposed by, among other entities, the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County, which issued a statement that cities affected by the bill “will experience increases in alcohol consumption and related problems including violence, emergency room admission, injuries, alcohol-impaired driving and motor vehicle crashes.”

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