Proposed CA bill could allow Fresno bars to sell alcohol until 4 a.m.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Senate Bill 930 would allow seven cities across the state to enter a pilot program, testing out a 4 am cut-off time for alcohol sales at restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

The cities: San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Fresno, Coachella, and Cathedral City.

Senator Scott Weiner has tried getting the bill passed before but says now, he feels the time is right.

"Our bars, nightclubs and restaurants have been decimated by the pandemic, so many of them have closed down. The ones that are still open, they're often hanging on by their fingernails," said Weiner.

He says cities are hindered from having expanded nightlife because of the current 2 am law.

But there are some concerns.

"Our most dangerous times when it comes to impaired driving is in those after hours when drinking has ceased," said Natasha Thomas, executive director of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) northern California region.

MADD has come out against the bill in the past and it's no different this time around.

"We just don't see the benefit in having something that's a pilot program, when we know we're already dealing with havoc and tragedy on our roadways as we speak right now," said Thomas.

Weiner says the bill only gives the pilot cities the option and each city can set its own rules and regulations related to the 4 am cut-off.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer asked to be included in the pilot program to keep options open. This doesn't mean the city will adopt the new time, but his office says he'd like the city to have the chance to choose.

The pilot program would last for five years. At the end of it, legislators would evaluate and decide to expand or cancel it.
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