Lawmakers Block Bill Allowing West Hollywood to Extend Alcohol Sales Until 4am

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Lawmakers blocked Senate Bill SB 930 by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), a pilot program that would have allowed the cities of West Hollywood, Palm Springs and San Francisco to extend alcohol sales until 4 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and some holidays, and until 3 a.m. on the rest of the days. The Bill was rejected on the grounds that it would lead to more impaired drivers on the streets, making it a threat to public safety, and result in needless deaths.

West Hollywood City Council adopted a resolution in support of SB 930 at a regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, June 27, 2022.  Community members expressed concerns with the pilot program, which was vetoed in 2018. They had issues with possible loud noise, driving while intoxicated during later hours, and the need for more policing.

Mayor Pro Tem Shyne said she heard a lot of opposition from community members, mainly due to noise. She pointed out that unlike other cities, West Hollywood nightlife is very close to residential areas and could potential cause problems for residents who want peace and quiet during those hours.

Mayor Miester opposed the pilot program in 2018 and said she would do so again for reasons that were expressed during the meeting.

Both the Mayor and the Mayor Pro-Tem voted no on the motion, which passed 3-2.

On June 2, 2022, Senator Scott Wiener amended SB 930, which he had originally introduced on February 7, 2002, to address housing matters in the state. As amended on June 2, SB 930 would:
  1. Beginning January 1, 2025, and before January 2, 2030, require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to conduct a pilot program that would authorize the department to issue extended hours license to an on-sale licensee located in a qualified city that would authorize, with or without conditions, the selling, giving, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages at the licensed premises between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located.
  2. Impose specified fees related to the license to be deposited in the ABC Fund.
  3. Require the applicant to notify specified persons of the application for extended hours license and would provide a procedure for protest and hearing regarding the
    application.
  4. Require the Department of the California Highway Patrol and each qualified city that
    has elected to participate in the program to submit reports to the Legislature and specified committees regarding the regional impact of the extended hours licenses, as specified.
  5. Provide that any person under21 years of age who enters and remains in the licensed public premises during the additional serving hour without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor, as provided.
  6. The pilot program would apply to the Cities of Cathedral City, Coachella, Fresno, Oakland, Palm Springs, and West Hollywood, and the City and County of San Francisco.
    As amended on June 2, 2022, SB 930 provides ample discretion to “qualifying” cities referenced in the bill. Section 1 above mentions “upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located.” This means that each qualifying city, including West Hollywood, will be able to design a local extended hours program in which the City will be able to establish guidelines, define specific areas in which establishments could operate extended hours of alcohol sales, develop an application and review process, etc. As the bill defers to cities to decide how to shape the extended hours program, West Hollywood could establish a program with its own requirements, such as it could choose to limit the hours to 3 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. or extend hours only on certain days of the week like Pride or Halloween.

Assembly member Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) requested that it be allowed to come up for reconsideration later — a procedural move that offers a slim chance of success.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com
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Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Great article

Enough!
Enough!
1 month ago

Very good news for the community.