The last call for drinks is 2am in California, but one lawmaker believes that's just too early to set down the shot glasses and beer steins. State Sen. Mark Leno's proposal to let the liquor flow until 4am as a way to draw more tourists—and with them more revenue and jobs—is already spawning a sharp debate from Sacramento to watering holes in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Leno said the measure would make the state more competitive with other hotspots like New York, Las Vegas, and Miami that serve alcohol later into the wee hours of the morning or 24 hours a day.
Night-spot owners say a later last call would be good for business, but law enforcement officials argue that it increases the chances that cities will see more public drunkenness, violence, drunken driving, and possibly fatalities. Leno's proposal wouldn't set a uniform standard across the state. Instead, it would give each municipality the option to push its last call back to 4am. The bill is expected to get its first public committee hearing on April 23. (Read more California stories.)