The last call for drinks is 2 a.m. in California, but one lawmaker believes that’s just too early to set down the shot glasses and beer steins.
State Sen. Mark Leno’s proposal to let the liquor flow until 4 a.m. as a way to draw more tourists — and with them more revenue and jobs — is already spawning a sharp debate from Sacramento to watering holes in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Leno said the measure would make the state more competitive with other hotspots like New York, Las Vegas and Miami that serve alcohol later into the wee hours of the morning or 24 hours a day.
Feelings are mixed about the proposal. Night-spot owners say a later last call will be good for business, but law enforcement officials argue that it increases the chances that cities will see more public drunkenness, violence, drunken driving and possibly fatalities
Leno’s proposal, however, wouldn’t set a uniform standard across the state. Instead, it would give each municipality the option to push their last call back to 4 a.m.
Leno had authored a last call bill geared for San Francisco in 2004, which was rejected by the state Assembly. But he expects this one to fare better because it leaves the ultimate decisions with the cities.
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