SB 930 Defeated in Legislature

an old pin with a white V on a red background, while around the edge is written "FOR VICTORY"At long last, SB 930 is dead.

The bill, the fourth effort in the last five years by San Francisco legislators to extend the last call times to 4 a.m., was defeated in an Assembly floor vote. Author Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) was granted "reconsideration," allowing him to call for another vote, but the legislative session expired before that vote was called.

"This is a testament to both leaders and community members across the state," said Cruz Avila, Executive Director of Alcohol Justice. "They tried to slip this bill through at the last minute. Instead, the people of California heard, spoke out, and defended their neighbors and families."

The bill started out in the Senate in February dealing with a housing issue. In early June, after the bill had passed over to the Assembly side, the authors pulled a fast one. They gutted and amended it to be yet another dangerous "pilot project" to fracture the protections of uniform, statewide 2 a.m. last call for bars, clubs and restaurants. Despite great opposition it passed through the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee by just one vote and made it to the Assembly floor in late July. There, in the wake of a series of official condemnations, massive public outcry, and the withdrawal of four of the original seven cities in the experiment, it failed passage but was granted a customary "reconsideration vote". That vote never happened so the bill failure rests on the July floor vote.

Previous verisons--all authored by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)--were likewise stopped. The 2019 version stalled on the Assembly floor and the 2017 version was changed to mandate a study before the policy went into effect then withdrawn (Sen. Wiener's decision to withdraw it serving, in itself, as an admission that the purported harmlessness would not survive scrutiny). Only the 2018 effort made it through the legislature, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jerry Brown.

"While this is a victory," said Michael Scippa, Public Affairs Director for Alcohol Justice, "it's not the end. We have seen Sen. Wiener's obsessiveness with this issue, and Big Alcohol's dollars speak loudly."

"But this year," he added, "we saw just how much louder the people of California can be."
From all of the staff at Alcohol Justice: thank you to AJ supporters, CAPA members and supporters, and everyone else who lent their voice to defend public health, public safety, and community power.

LGBTQ+ Leaders Call SB 930 Out for the "Destruction of the Health and Welfare of Our Communities"

Three prominent Southern California LGBTQ+ health advocacy organizations have banded together to call for an end to the relentless push for late last calls.  In an August 26th, 2022, letter to California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the organizations--The Wall Las Memorias, Access to Prevention Advocacy Intervention & Treatment, and the Minority AIDS Project--decried the bill as "an affront to LGBTQ communities of color which suffer from harm due to overuse of alcohol and other substance uses."

SB 930, proposed by State Senator Scott Wiener and State Assemblymember Matt Haney (both D-San Francisco), would extend bar last call times out to 4 a.m., starting with three specific cities: San Francisco, West Hollywood, and Palm Springs. All three of these cities are notable both for prominent LGBTQ+ communities, and for being "party towns" which draw commuters from all around the areas.

The authors themselves tout the money it will bring to LGBTQ+ bars in these cities, although extended last call times also come with a raft of overconsumption-related theats, including dangerous driving, violence and injury, and ER admissions. Even without last call extensions, LGBTQ+ individuals experience higher rates of alcohol-use disorder, and experienced worse alcohol use and mental health outcomes during COVID-19. "This bill," the organizations write, "would create even more damage to our already marginalized communities."

The letter is available in pdfENGLISH and in pdfSPANISH.

NEW RESEARCH: Where Do We Go From Beer?

Mapping the Bay Area's "magnets" for potential deadly drivers.

A beer bottle on a cobbled sidewalk near the wheel of a carAs the California Assembly debates the passage of SB 930, a poorly conceived and reckless bit of legislation that would extend last call times in certain cities, the question remains: what about the rest of us? What should we expect if we don’t live in these cities?

It’s clear from existing research that extended last call times are associated with increased violent crime, emergency room visits, ambulance calls, and DUIs. What’s also clear is that people who drink in one city often do not confine their driving to just that same city. According to Ventura County Behavioral Health, people receiving DUIs often travel 7 to 40 miles before getting pulled over. Surveillance in New York State showed that DUIs were elevated in counties whose neighbors had extended last call times, even if those counties kept to normal ones.

Read more ...

OPINION: Opening Bars in Secret Silences Communities

by Mayra Jimenez, Advocacy Manager, California Alcohol Policy Alliance
a paper cutout of a face with an "X" taped over its mouth In 2022, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), backed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, introduced Senate Bill 980. The bill enacted a number of so-called reforms which would supposedly “streamline” the liquor license application process for new bars and restaurants. These changes include:
  • Preventing the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) from denying licenses due to proximity to schools, parks, and other youth-oriented areas
  • Lifting the requirement that applicants notify all residents within a certain radius of where they planned to open
  • Forcing ABC to prove that the new license would disrupt normal standards of quiet and safety, rather than allowing ABC to ask the licensee to prove that it wouldn’t
  • Allowing liquor license applicants to withdraw an application then reapply on the same day

Read more ...