The Senate is working to pass Senate Bill 58 that would allow the sale of alcohol to continue from 2 am to 4 am. This pilot program would take place in 10 of California’s major cities and would span five years beginning in 2022.
Last year, Governor Brown vetoed a similar version of this bill. His message regarding his opinion summarizes everything that is wrong with this legislation:
“Without question, these two extra hours will result in more drinking. The California Highway Patrol strongly believes that this increased drinking will lead to more drunk driving. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”
Governor Brown and I did not agree on everything during his administration, but this is something that we did see eye-to-eye on simply because it’s common sense.
Adding an extra 2 hours to allow people to purchase and consume alcohol will only increase the potential for harm to California communities. As a 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol and Vice- Chair of the Assembly Public Safety committee, I see all matters through a lens of security for the people we serve.
Senate Bill 58 poses a clear and sure threat to the well-being of the people of our state.
Laws that come from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are in place to ensure the safety of both the people purchasing and consuming the alcohol and for those who are not.
This bill would be a pilot program for some of the busiest communities in the state, but just like Governor Brown, I do not believe that we need a study to confirm what we already know. If a highly addictive substance is more available to the public, consumption will surely increase.
Of course, this bill has the potential to increase late night sales from bar-goers; however, this extended time period would also significantly detract from the livability of surrounding areas.
Not only would raucous bar patrons be invited to partake until 4 am, but there is also no way to keep them in the boundaries that have been designated as 4 am cities. This creates a great deal more problems with enforcement, containment, and feasibility in terms of which bars are open and what areas accept this kind of behavior.
Rosie Mainella is a mother of 4 in Assembly District 36 and a representative of Pueblo y Salud, Inc. This organization has been implementing an environmental alcohol prevention project in the Antelope Valley. Mrs. Mainella expressed her concern to me about the potential for increased deaths, accidents and property damage by motorists coming home from a night of entertainment in the big city:
“Many residents of the AV drive to downtown Los Angeles for entertainment on the weekends. We’ve already seen a problem with drinking and driving arrests on the 14 during the current weekend peak hours of 12 to 2 a.m. We can’t imagine how much worse the problems will get if the drinking hours are increased to 4:00 in the morning. We are concerned not only for those individuals who drink and drive, but also for the innocent people who may end up on the receiving end of an accident through no fault of their own.”
SB 58 is the kind of legislation that undermines the safety and efficacy of our laws.
Every day I work for the security of all Californians to enable them to live healthy and protected lives.
This bill is a slippery slope that will assuredly make bars 24-hour establishments. There are times when we need to look to ways to stimulate our economy, and then there are times that we need to allow common sense to guide us to protect human lives. I believe this is a time that we should utilize our common sense and make California more, never less, safe.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey represents the 36th Assembly District encompassing parts of California City, Rosamond, Lancaster, Gorman, and Santa Clarita.
Xavier Flores is a representative of Pueblo y Salud in the Antelope Valley.