By Matthew Reagan
Legislation to let bars in Los Angeles and nine other California cities extend closing time from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. has cleared the state Senate and moved to the Assembly where it is expected to pass.
Known as Senate Bill 58 (SB 58), the legislation is nearly identical to a bill that passed the legislature last year with widespread support, but was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown. Supporters of SB 58 are hoping that Governor Gavin Newsom, unlike his predecessor, will be willing to sign a bill for extended bar hours.
The politicians who represent Northeast L.A in Sacramento – state Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D) and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D) – are going different ways on the issue.
In the state Senate, where SB 58 passed 29-6, Durazo abstained from casting a vote. Durazo told the Boulevard Sentinel that concerns raised by community organizers over the potential negative impacts of increased alcohol consumption prompted her not to vote on the bill. Durazo did not respond to questions from the Sentinel about why she abstained rather than vote “no.”
In the Assembly, Carrillo is a co-author and advocate of the bill. “The beauty of SB 58 is that it is very much about local control,” said Carrillo, pointing out that under the bill, local governments would have a say over whether or not to extend bar hours.
If SB 58 passes the Assembly and is signed into law, a pilot program for extended hours would begin as early as 2022.