SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Aug. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Alcohol Justice and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) expressed horror today as the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to allow SB 905 to proceed. The bill was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and a number of co-authors including Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).
"Despite last year's oppose recommendation from the California Department of Finance and over 40 years of compelling, peer-reviewed data on harms and costs that would result from two additional hours of alcohol sales, the Assembly Appropriations Committee clearly caved to Wiener and his late night supporters," stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. "My own Senator Scott Wiener continues to add more cities to his so-called pilot program and continues to ignore the evidence of street violence, emergency room crowding and sleepy, impaired driving and death his bill will cause."
The evidence for increased harms was presented to the legislature this year in an Alcohol Justice/CAPA report entitled The Late Night Threat, Science, Harms, and Costs of Extending Bar Service Hours. It highlighted the existing data supporting how the acute effects of extending alcohol sales would spread to "Splash Zones" surrounding the cities then mentioned in the bill: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, Long Beach, and West Hollywood. Since the report was released, three more cities have been added to the so-called "pilot project" – Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Coachella.
"Wiener has made a mockery of scientific research and the legislative process by calling his dangerous experiment a 'pilot project"', stated Michael Scippa, Public Affairs Director at Alcohol Justice. "A true, scientifically designed 'pilot project' would cover only a small sample, not over 76% of the state's population that will be exposed to additional alcohol-related harms if SB 905 becomes law."
Ignored by this committee was a second report presented to the legislature this year titled: The effect SB 905 would have on alcohol-related crashes & Senator Wiener's post hoc fallacy.The report was a response to Senator Wiener's attempt to discount the existing body of science with a spread sheet of meaningless, cherry-picked, disparate, numbers from federal sources. "The table Senator Wiener passes around, claiming there's no harm in keeping bars open to 4 a.m., is a piece of junk science," reported Ramon Castellblanch, Ph.D., President, Quality Healthcare Concepts, Professor Emeritus, Health Education, San Francisco State University and author of the report. "He's using it to misinform legislators and to lie to them about the DEADLY effects of bar hours being extended to 4 in the morning."
Also ignored by this committee was a statement from Jonathan Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., M.B.A, Distinguished Professor UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Fielding was Chair of the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force which found in a peer-reviewed, global meta-analysis that every 2-hour increase in last-call times results in greater vehicle crash injuries and E.R. admissions. (Hahn et al., 2010) Dr. Fielding stated, "…I have no reason to believe that an increase in hours of sale anywhere in the U.S. would have different results."
California currently suffers over 10,500 alcohol-related deaths and $34 billion in costs annually. The California Office of Traffic Safety has reported that fatal DUI is a chronic, worsening problem for the state. Between 2014 and 2016, alcohol-related crash deaths rose 21%. That number can only go up with two additional hours of alcohol consumption. Thus, the only benefit of selling alcohol between 2 and 4 a.m. will be greater profits to bar, restaurant, and club owners in the party zones the bill will create. While the public and all levels of government will be forced to continue to cover the costs of cleaning up the mess that follows.
"The bill now heads to the Assembly Floor where we will likely observe just how strong the alcohol lobby's influence is in California," stated Livingston. "It doesn't look good for public health and safety. Governor Jerry Brown is our last hope for a veto from an adult that pays attention to the destruction this bill will cause on California's highways."
SB 905: REGISTERED OPPOSITION as of 8/5
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