SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Alcohol Justice, the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA), and Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Koretz condemned the California State Senate's vote today that chose nightlife over all life and industry influence over public health and safety. The Senators voted 29-6 on SB 58, Sen. Scott Wiener's third attempt in three years to disrupt the protections of a uniform closing time in California. SB 58 would allow 10 cities to extend drinking hours until 4 a.m. in party zones. If passed by the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Newsom, the bill would allow a poorly conceived "pilot project" to turn 76% of the state's population into "Splash Zone" lab animals.
"Once again our state Senate has turned its back on common sense by approving this dangerous bill," said Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. "A handful of greedy bars, night clubs, and hotels are driving this faulty policy that will extend violence, traffic deaths and nuisance into the early morning commute hours."
"I'm truly disappointed in the California Senators who cast an AYE vote on SB 58, allowing alcohol service until 4 am, putting the revenue of a few alcohol establishments ahead of safeguarding human lives," said Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz who has been an active opponent of all versions of the 4 a.m. bar bill from the beginning. "This bill has the potential to endanger millions of Californians who could be within harm's way as drunk drivers make their way into commuter traffic. I'm hoping that legislators in the State Assembly exercise more wisdom in protecting the lives of all Californians."
The Senate floor vote to approve SB 58 was not unanimous. 20% of the Senate did not support the measure. Kudos to Senators Bates, Chang, Jackson, Rubio, Umberg, and Wilk for voting no. They chose public health and safety over nightlife interests.
"Enacting SB 58 increases the potential for more drunk drivers on our roads and placing more lives at risk," said Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), who opposed SB 58. "At a time when the state is seeking ways to reduce drunk driving such as increasing the use of ignition interlock devices, it makes little sense to pass a measure like SB 58. I hope the Assembly will reject the bill."
"The Senators voting yes on SB 58 failed to represent the best interests of all California residents," stated Veronica De Lara, Co-Chair of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA). "SB 58 continues to grow Statewide opposition and will be demonstrated in the Assembly. We urge Assembly members to listen to their constituency, which are firmly against SB 58."
"Senate Wiener may be gloating over his '3rd times the charm' victory today," observed Michael Scippa, Public Affairs Director at Alcohol Justice. "But there is nothing charming about a toxic public policy that benefits a select group of business owners at considerable cost to the state."
Conservative estimates place state costs at around $3-4 million per year to administer SB 58, mitigate the harm, and clean the blood off the highway. Costs to surrounding "Splash Zone" cities and towns could be millions more.
Alcohol Justice urges concerned Californians to contact their Assemblymember and make it clear that 4 a.m. last call times will hurt the community. "California politicians need to protect public health and safety, and stop subsidizing Big Alcohol. Nightlife is not more important than all life," added Scippa.
- Having failed to pass two previous 4 a.m. bar bills (SB 384 in 2017, SB 905 in 2018), State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) authored SB 58, a poorly conceived and inadequately funded ABC "pilot project" to extend last call to 4 a.m. in ten cities.
- SB 58 disregards 40 years of peer-reviewed, public health research on the dangers of extending last call.
- SB 58 will strip away uniform protections of the existing 2 a.m. last call, and spread additional alcohol overconsumption, loss of life, injury, and nuisance across the state.
- According to California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), fatal DUI is a chronic, worsening problem for California.
- The U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force found that every 2-hour increase in last-call times results in greater vehicle crash injuries and E.R. admissions.
- There is no such thing as "local control" in alcohol policy. The harm from one city's decision to change last-call times "splashes" over every surrounding community.
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), California already suffers over 10,500 alcohol-related deaths annually, $35 billion in total costs, and $14.5 billion in state costs.
- SB 58 subsidizes and rewards late-night alcohol-sellers at tax-payer expense.
- LA City Councilman Introduces Resolution Against Extending Alcohol Sales to 4 A.M.
- Risk of alcohol-related incidents outweighs potential benefits of proposed bill
- California's zombie 4 a.m. bar bill lacks justification
TAKE ACTION to STOP SB 58: https://bit.ly/2vuTUxF or Text Justice to 313 131
Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336 (Spanish speaking)
Allison Simard (213) 473-7005 (Council Member Koretz's office)
SOURCE Alcohol Justice