|Michigan Bar Hours Could Extend to 4 AM
||[Oct. 8th, 2009|05:45 pm]
|||||Detroit, MI, USA||]|
|||||AC/DC - Have a Drink on Me||]|
House panel approves bid to extend bar hours
By DAWSON BELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
LANSING — Michiganders could be served alcohol in bars and restaurants until 4 a.m. and on Sunday mornings under legislation approved today by a key state House committee.
The bill would permit establishments with liquor licenses to purchase additional permits for $1,500 apiece annually to sell alcoholic beverages either later at night or on Sunday mornings, or both. Local governments could decide to not allow the extended hours.
The vote in the House Appropriations Committee strictly along party lines with all Democrats voting for it and Republicans against.
The state estimates the additional fees would generate more than $13 million. The money would be designated to reduce scheduled cuts in revenue sharing to cities, townships, villages and counties and for college scholarships.
The bill moves to the full House. If it passes there, it moves to the Republican-controlled state Senate.
The current cut-off time is 2 AM in the bars and stores.
When they posted this story, there was a rise of complaints from people, stemming over the idea that a couple more hours a night would quadruple the drunks on the road. What a load of trash that idea is.
Most people go for a short while to the bar. They base their intake on finite limits. They go home or stop drinking after a certain point and switch to non-alcoholic offerings. If they want to drink more, they get someone to come with them who won't drink, or they find a cab to and from the bar. If the bar's close enough, they walk, if the weather's decent.
There are approximately 14 million alcoholics in a nation of 300 million people. Alcoholics are costly, but the majority of Americans are responsible with their privilege. And there's no shortage of warnings, so there can't be a great ignorance about the risks in this age.
A small extra number of hours a week fails to produce any increase in drunk drivers. Other cities operate to the 4 AM hour without chaos. The problem drinkers will create problems at any hour, since people can drink at home ... there's always a risk of a drunk driver on the road.
An increase in alcohol-related problems happen in college towns. Police departments around colleges already deal with a rash of trouble, and from experience, they're roaming the streets on Friday and Saturday nights until the sun comes up. In those areas, however, the police are already dealing with house parties and dorm parties and everything else. 2 more hours a night wouldn't change anything. It's really not about being equipped to handle the irresponsible, in any sense. Police operate 24/7/365.
The people most against this change were taking attitudes as if the world would be a better place if Americans had less access ... or didn't have any access to it. That is a dangerous idea. Prohibition ushered in the Purple Gang's rise to power in the 1920s. These bootleggers helped countless other organized crime families rise to great power. Guys like Al Capone became a problem because of prohibition.
And, of course, you know prohibition had to be a swell idea, since the KKK was all for it.
It's not much money, however, the $1500 per year. The low amount seems like it's designed to be affordable to even the lowest-traffic dives in the state. My wish would be for this to operate as sort of an either/or deal ... either a small percentage of last year's revenue, or in cases of new licenses, a higher x-amount. That way, they're getting way more from the big bars.
At any rate, it's money that Michigan doesn't do a great job of finding, since this state is terribly inept at coming up with new ways to generate state revenue. This is a welcome idea, to me. It sure beats jacking up a gas or cigarette tax to even higher amounts. Those turnips have been absolutely bled.