State Senate ‘bar bill’ changes; Encinitas rejects opposition request

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council rejected a request by Councilman Mark Muir to oppose a state bill that would extend bar closing times from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. after the state backed off of the proposal.

Muir was looking for the council’s support in drafting a letter to oppose Senate Bill 384, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) in February.

Originally, the bill would have authorized the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue an additional hours permit license to an on-sale licensee which would authorize, with or without conditions, the selling, giving, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages at the licensed premises between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., upon completion of specified requirements by the local jurisdiction in which the licensee is located.

But recently, the bill was revised to create a task force for studying the issue of keeping bars open beyond 2 a.m., with a report due back to the Legislature by the end of 2019.

Muir said he was philosophically opposed to the state allowing bars to close later, and said it would send the wrong message in Encinitas, which has over the past few years wrestled over issues stemming from unruly patrons at alcohol-serving establishments.

The council, however, took the step of rejecting Muir’s follow-up request for a letter in opposition if the state revisits the “closing time” issue again.

Tasha Boerner Horvath said she opposed the opposition because the bill gave individual cities the authority to approve or reject closing time requests, and didn’t feel it was appropriate for the city to oppose other cities’ actions.

“One thing I look for in a bill is to not legislate for other cities,” Boerner Horvath said. “I don’t want to be saying what should be open or what should be serving in San Francisco or Humboldt or anywhere else, that’s not my job. I am elected for Encinitas.”

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