California Considering Extending Alcohol Selling Hours to 4 AM in 7 Cities

August 11, 2018 Updated: August 21, 2018

A bill aiming to extend the sales hours of alcohol in seven California cities starting in 2021 has passed the State Senate but has yet to make it through the California Assembly.

SB 905 proposes a 5-year pilot plan that allows bars and clubs in several cities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco, to extend the hours of selling alcohol from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

“Nightlife is vital to many of our cities throughout California, and we need to do more to let these cities find ways to promote and support nightlife,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-11th District, who authored the bill.

The bill passed the Senate floor in late May and was sent to the Assembly. However, the bill was moved to the suspense files in August due to its fiscal impact. It’s scheduled for a hearing on Aug. 16.

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, it’s estimated that the creation and operation of the pilot program under the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will cost $2 million initially and $2.5 million annually afterward.

In addition, $345,000 will be used to fund CHP to get involved and to file reports to the Legislature, while DOJ will need $30,000 initially and $60,000 annually afterward for enforcement.

On the other hand, the bill is expected to generate $1.5 to $3 million dollars from fees for license applications and renewals. According to Sen. Wiener, all of the mayors from the seven participating cities welcomed the bill and the flexibility given to local government in deciding alcohol sales hours.

The bill has also faced opposition from multiple social organizations and public officials concerning public safety.

“76% of the state’s population will be affected,” said the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County.

The organization argued that if the bill passes, these communities will face challenges from increased alcohol consumption and associated problems like violence, alcohol-impaired driving, and more burdens on law enforcement and emergency departments.