Last year, California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced the LOCAL Act up in Sacramento. The legislation is aimed at giving local communities the ability (if they so choose) to regulate when their bars and restaurants would close, upping the last call timing from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The bill failed to make it out of committee, but reportedly had decent support (and received a slew of media attention) before it was shot down.
Now Wiener is at it again, offering up a scaled-back “pilot program” version of the LOCAL Act that would focus in on just a few statewide municipalities, as a way to gauge consumer interest and work out any small-scale kinks. Best of all, three of those six locations are right here in Southern California.
According to a post by Wiener on medium.com (and an associated press conference), the Northern California senator is hoping to focus in on the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and West Hollywood. Of course those communities represent the largest swath of statewide nightlife as well as population, but apparently the more localized approach has earned support from each city’s mayor.
Right now, the reborn legislation would offer up the pilot program to each city for just five years, and reevaluate on the statewide level thereafter. And, as Wiener says:
To be clear, this bill will not automatically extend alcohol sales hours in bars, nightclubs, and restaurants in these cities. Rather, it will simply create local control by allowing locally elected officials (i.e. the city council or Board of Supervisors) in the six cities to deliberate and decide if it makes sense to extend hours.
Ultimately local lawmakers could decide not to change hours at all, or change them only for a few nights a year, or in a particular part of town, or hedge bets and opt for a 3 a.m. last call. The idea, says Wiener, is primarily to destigmatize nightlife while returning control to those who live and serve in the affected communities. Wiener and his supporters are hoping the bill can be introduced in January of 2018.