Lawmakers Reject Bill That Would Have Let Bars Serve Alcohol Until 4 a.m.

Opponents argued that the bill would cause drunken drivers to share the road with morning commuters.


California lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a bill that would have allowed bars serve alcohol until 4 a.m. -- two hours later than current law allows.

Senate Bill 635 failed to pass the state Senate's Governmental Organization committee on a 4-6 vote. Though lawmakers left open the option to reconsider the bill, legislative officials told NBC4 that possibility seemed unlikely until at least next year.

The idea of later bar hours drew support from groups representing restaurants, business and labor. Meanwhile, police unions, anti-drug and alcohol organizations, and the city of Los Angeles oppose it.

At least 15 states have similar laws on the books, including New York, Illinois and Nevada.

Supporters claimed SB 635 "would enable certain California cities to compete with other world-class cities in attracting tourists, conventions and conferences from around the world," according to an analysis of the bill.

Opponents, however, argued that extending drinking hours would ruin the quality of life in some neighborhoods, and cause more drunken-driving crashes as "late-night drinkers (share) the road with early morning commuters," the analysis said.

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