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Another Crucial Vote for a 4 a.m. Last Call Goes Up Tomorrow in the CA State Assembly

Both sides argue the benefits and pitfalls of extending last call two more hours

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Tomorrow Senate Bill 384, which would allow individual municipalities in California to extend last call from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., will go before the California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee for a vote. This would allow the bill to eventually go before the larger Assembly for a final review and approval. The State Senate already approved the bill back in May, opening the door to an implementation of the new law by January 2020 in California.

LAist weighs in on both sides, whether the longer last call will be beneficial for Los Angeles as a major nightlife destination, or whether the extended hours could have detrimental effects to local communities. Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz has come out against the bill, saying it will cost the city with by burdening law enforcement.

The LA Times editorial board recently wrote an op-ed in support of bill, saying, “There’s no firm science behind last-call laws, no data that prove that 2 a.m. is better than 4 a.m or 6 a.m. or any other time. The laws are more a reflection of a state’s history, its cultural practices and its politics.”

In addition some objectors argument that a later last call will encourage more drinking, assaults, and nuisance around the bars that serve late. Advocates for the bill argue that in the age of Uber, it’s actually safer to extend prime drinking hours, leading to less binge drinking.

Indeed the 2 a.m. last call reflects an antiquated law from 1935, and could drastically change the nightlife landscape in Los Angeles. Other major cities like D.C., Chicago, and New York already have last calls beyond California’s 2 a.m. limit, while places like Las Vegas and New Orleans often have 24 hour liquor service.

One unique point of view comes from state senator Scott Wiener, who states that nightlife plays a critical role for the LBGT community: “Nightlife helped us find our community. It matters a lot.”