Good idea or bad idea: Bar close at 4 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. - Bring Me The News

Good idea or bad idea: Bar close at 4 a.m. instead of 2 a.m.

It has a hearing Wednesday.
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Bars could pour booze until the wee hours of the morning if this bill passes.

Rep. Jeff Howe, a Republican from Rockville, has a proposal that would allow bars and restaurants to stay open – and sell booze – until 4 a.m. That's instead of the current deadline of 2 a.m. (There's a companion in the Senate too.)

He was inspired by the proposal to extend bar hours in the Twin Cities during next year's Super Bowl, telling the Pioneer Press, "If it's good for that weekend... why not do it the rest of the year," and also allow the rest of the state to take part.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by a House committee on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

A few other boozy proposals are also on the docket, including extending bar hours for the Super Bowl and allowing brew pubs to sell beer at the airport.

It's still a ways off from reality

But just because the 4 a.m. bar bill has a committee hearing doesn't mean it'll become law.

Changing liquor laws in Minnesota tends to come with a lot of debate (Sunday sales anyone?). The last time lawmakers changed bar close was 2003, when they pushed it back from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., MPR News reported at the time.

That came after years of discussion at the Capitol, with opponents saying pushing bar close later would result in more drunk driving, while the liquor industry supported the bill so bars could make more money, MPR News said.

Not much has been said about the arguments for or against 4 a.m. bar close this year, and Sen. Dave Osmek, a Republican sponsor of the bill in the Senate, told the Pioneer Press it isn't a priority this year.

Instead, Osmek says they're focusing on passing a bill that would allow liquor stores to sell booze on Sundays, which he told the paper has a "better than a 50-50 shot" at passing the Senate. (For those counting at home, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt has said it's likely the bill will pass the House.)

According to a 2015 Thrillist article, there are only a handful of cities/states in the U.S. where bars stay open until 4 a.m.: New York City; Hawaii (with a special license); parts of Illinois, including in Chicago; and Louisville, Kentucky.

The majority of other states, bars are open until around 2 a.m.

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