Veto Needed to Stop 4 A.M. Bar Bill

veto sb 905 the 4 a.m. bar bill do it now I know youre reading this JerryThe cloak-and-dagger vibe surrounding the SB 905, the 4 A.M. Bar Bill, does not just stem from the rise in assaults and violent crimes that come with late last calls. It also arises from the combination of opacity and deliberate distortion of science that has gotten it through the California Assembly.

On Wednesday, August 29, the California Assembly approved the bill, authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). On its way to the floor, it was amended innumerable times, its hearings repeatedly delayed, and its scope expanded arbitrarily. In short, it showed every sign of bad-faith governance, favoring Big Alcohol and the handful of large nightlife promoters who support its coauthors over the lives and safety of California citizens. Having already cleared the Senate, the bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown. Alcohol Justice and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) urge all concerned Californians to tell the governor to VETO it.

The bill was initially proposed as a “pilot," but it is not clear that Sen. Wiener knows what that term means. Unlike legitimate pilot studies, which seek to test a theory in a small population before any large-scale rollouts, SB 905 targets 5 of the 10 largest cities in California. Counting the "Splash Effect" from drivers within an hour of those cities, the “pilot" threatens over three-quarters of California. Never mind the fact that Sen. Wiener did not bother to put together a coherent plan to assess the impact of late last calls, nor designate funding for professional data analysis.

It is hard to tell whether SB 905’s backers are simply scientifically illiterate, or are literate enough to understand the weight of the science opposing them. Sen. Wiener’s initial arguments for the safety bill were based on a flimsy unsourced spreadsheet that had not been analyzed at all. The U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force performed a systematic review of 40 years of data on last call times, finding that any change of 2 hours or more lead to increases in alcohol-related traffic deaths. A one-hour change was enough to create a spike in violence, assault, accidental injury, and ER admissions.

“Alternative facts are very popular right now," said Carson Benowitz-Fredericks, Research Manager for Alcohol Justice. “California needs leadership that understands the significance of basic research in protecting lives."

Nothing about California suggests it would magically be immune to the harm experienced elsewhere in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. Despite the rise of Lyft and Uber, fatal traffic accidents involving alcohol have been rising steadily year after year. Major holes in transit service combined with the spike in rents make driving the only option for younger, lower-income Californians—the same to whom late last calls would be most appealing.

“We know who this hurts," said Michael Scippa, Public Affairs Director of Alcohol Justice. “We know how badly it hurts them. We know the catastrophic costs to hospitals, first responders, and government. We just need to make sure Gov. Brown knows as well."

Concerned Californians can TAKE ACTION to reach out to Governor Brown here. Let the Governor know that 2 extra hours of drinking are not worth our neighbor’s lives.

TAKE ACTION to tell Governor Brown to VETO SB 905.

READ MORE about the threats and effects of later last calls.

READ MORE about how SB 905’s backers failed their basic statistics classes.