“Let’s not let tragedy take a backseat to commerce.”
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and safety advocates from Alcohol Justice, and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) gathered at a Capitol press event Wednesday to oppose California SB 930. The “gut & amend” bill, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and Assembly Member Mark Haney (D-San Francisco), is the 5th attempt since 2013 to disrupt the protections of California’s statewide, uniform last call.
“I do not know how legislators who vote yes will reconcile the loss of life,” state Assemblymember Lackey. “As a 28-year California Highway Patrol veteran, I have made over 40 death notifications to victims of impaired driving. Extending last call for bars to the early morning will create a dangerous combination of drowsy and impaired drivers mixed with commuters. Let’s not let tragedy take a backseat to commerce.”
SB 930 would allow closing times for on-sale retailers to be extended from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. as part of a dangerous “pilot program.” The experiment would take place in 6 cities: San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Cathedral City, Coachella, and Palm Springs. Fresno was originally the 7th city in the pilot program but requested to be removed from the bill due to opposition among Fresno city leaders.
“If any part of this terrible public policy change becomes law, whether it’s 6 cities, 5, 4, or 3, and a 4 a.m. or 3 a.m. last call, residents and visitors to California communities will suffer,” said Michael Scippa, Public Affairs Director at Alcohol Justice. “The protections of uniform, statewide 2 a.m. last call will be shattered and blood will be spilled on the highways and in the communities in splash zones surrounding the “pilot project” cities, the cities that have no “local control.” That blood will be on the hands of every legislator who voted yes, and Governor Newsom if does not veto SB 930, if it hits his desk.”
Fred Jones, representing California Council on Alcohol Problems, and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) stated “Mixing inebriated drivers with early morning commuters is a cocktail of disaster!”
40 years of data show there is no “local control” when it comes to alcohol. The danger, harms and costs will not stay in the “Pilot Project Cities” where the drinking and economic benefits occur. If the bill becomes law, all surrounding communities of pilot project cities will be threatened by late night drinkers traveling drunk and fatigued into the early morning commute hours.
“You can talk about the economic benefits for bars if late-night bars are in a bubble, separate from everyone else. But they’re not,” stated Benowitz Fredericks. “They’re part of our cities and part of our state, and the harms and costs that come from SB 930 are carried by all of us.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), California currently suffers more annual alcohol-related harm than any other state: 11,000 alcohol-related deaths, $35 billion in total costs, $18.5 billion in state costs. The CDC also identifies maintaining existing last call times as one of the 10 key policies for reducing the harms from reckless drinking and from alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths.
Dead-serious statewide opposition to SB 930 is growing. Last week, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution of opposition, and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP) came out against SB 930 in a letter sent to Senator Scott Wiener, co-author of the bill. And Wednesday the Fresno City Council unanimously passed another resolution of opposition.
“Before our elected reps extend yet another boon to alcohol peddlers, they should first address the current and growing harms of alcohol,” stated Jones. “This would include finally updating the 1992 alcohol excise tax rates that aren’t adjusted for inflation, and lower the legal BAC to what federal regulators and scientists have recommended, namely 0.05%.”
“We have to protect California residents and visitors from reckless, short-sighted, science-denying policies promoted by politicians who would tip the rest of the state off the cliff just to enjoy the drunken view from 4 A.M,” added Fredericks. “Let’s stand up for every community in this state and use every bit of power we have to stop SB 930.”
“Extending hours of on-site alcohol sales into 4 a.m. will benefit a few bar, restaurant and nightclub owners, as well as alcohol producers and distributors, while increasing alcohol-related harms and costs at great public expense,” stated Cruz Avila, Executive Director of Alcohol Justice. “It’s time to tell our elected leaders in Sacramento to stop socializing the risks and privatizing the benefits for the alcohol industry. TAKE ACTION today by texting JUSTICE to 313131 or go to https://alcoholjustice.org/take-action/stop-sb-930-no-late-last-calls-in-ca-not-now-not-ever to tell California policy makers that local and state governments and taxpayers already pay far too much to mitigate alcohol-related harm.”
CONTACT: Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
SOURCE Alcohol Justice; California Alcohol Policy Alliance