The California Senate is working to pass Senate Bill 58 that would permit the sale of alcohol to continue from 2-4 a.m. The pilot program would take place in 10 of California’s major cities and would span five years beginning in 2022.

The Antelope Valley Press editorial board is vehemently opposed to the bill.

We commend Assemblyman Tom Lackey, who represents the 36th Assembly District encompassing parts of California City, Rosamond, Lancaster, Gorman and Santa Clarita. He wrote a strong oped article criticizing the attempted legislation. We published his piece in the June 30 edition.

Lackey is a 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol and vice chair of the Assembly Public Safety committee, which gives him good standing to oppose bills that could expand drunkenness throughout the state.

During the World War II years, bars were required to close at midnight. In the post-war years, circa 1947, the establishments were provided with a law that extended “last round to 2 a.m.”

The higher education colleges and universities were filled with thousands of former members of the military, using their GI Bill educational advantages. Did those late drinkers go back to their dorms at midnight? No, many of them kept drinking until the 2 a.m. deadline.

Lackey properly pointed out that “If a highly addictive substance is more available to the public, consumption will surely increase.”

He emphasized that the extended time period would significantly detract from the livability of surrounding areas.

“Not only would raucous bar patrons be invited to partake until 4 a.m., but there is also no way to keep them in the boundaries that have been designated as 4 a.m. cities,” he wrote. “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.”

He said that Rosie Mainella, a mother of four in his district, is a representative of Pueblo y Salud, Inc., which is implementing an environmental alcohol prevention project in the Antelope Valley. She has expressed her concern about the potential for increased deaths, accidents and property damage, involving motorists coming home from a night of entertainment in the big city south, Los Angeles.

There is already a drinking and driving problem on Highway 14 during the current weekend peak hours of midnight to 2 a.m.

We would add that California is alive with many commuters who hit the road between the 4-6 a.m. time slot to arrive at work at an early start time.

If the traffic arteries are loaded with loaded drunk drivers, people headed to work would face an expanded period for extremely dangerous accidents.

We urge our lawmakers to vote against the 4 a.m. proposal. If passed, we would hope that Gov. Gavin Newsom would veto the bill.

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