Last call, or the time that alcohol sales are legally required to cease at bars and restaurants in California is currently 2 a.m. However, some lawmakers, perhaps with incentive and pressure from the alcohol lobby in the state have introduced legislation that would push last call back two hours to 4 a.m. Despite numerous objections from both physicians and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, that legislation is being allowed to go further. Benzinga reports on the situation.
SB 905, which aims to extend last call at cities in California from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. was voted to be able to proceed by the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The legislation was introduced by Senators Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and had numerous co-authors, including Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), and Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).
Last year, the California Department of Finance recommended that the assembly vote no on the measure. Numerous studies conducted over 40 years indicate that extending last call by two hours would cause harm and raise costs.
The committee ignored a report submitted to them this year that was intended as a response to Weiner’s “cherry-picked disparate numbers from federal sources” supporting the extension of last call.
Another study presented to the committee indicated that every 2-hour increase in last call times resulted in more auto crash injuries and patients seen at emergency rooms.
Currently, California sees over 10,500 alcohol-impaired crash-related deaths that cost $34 billion annually. Between 2014 and 2016 alcohol-related crash deaths saw an increase of 21%.
Organizations opposed to the legislation include the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, among several others.