SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have permitted bartenders to serve drinks until 4 a.m., two hours later than the current last call for alcohol.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, had said the extended hours would draw tourists, create jobs and help California cities compete with New York, Las Vegas, Miami and other areas that serve alcohol all night long.
But SB635 failed to get enough votes in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday.
Leno spokeswoman Ali Bay said Wednesday that the deadline has passed for the senator to try again, killing the bill for the year.
His bill would have let municipalities decide whether to extend last call to 4 a.m.
Law enforcement said that could mean more public drunkenness, violence and drunken driving. They said drunken patrons would be hitting the highways just as the morning commute begins.
Leno countered that the current standard of 2 a.m. puts more pressure on law enforcement agencies, public services and transportation because bar patrons are all pushed into the street simultaneously at closing time.
At least 15 other states already leave it up to local authorities to decide whether and when to cut off drinking, according to Leno’s office.
This was his second attempt to extend bar hours. He tried a bill in 2004 that would apply only to San Francisco, but it was rejected by the state Assembly.