Don’t count on extended bar hours in Palm Springs, other area cities just yet

California State Sen. Scott Wiener has tried and failed twice to pass legislation allowing bars to remain open until 4 a.m. in cities chosen for a pilot program.

A proposal to extend bars hours in Palm Springs and six other California cities has a long way to go before it gets anywhere near reality here, city official said this week.

Driving the news: California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has tried and failed twice to pass legislation allowing bars to remain open until 4 a.m. in cities chosen for a pilot program. He’s trying again with SB930, which is currently working its way through Sacramento and scheduled for its next committee hearing in early August.

  • In 2018 a similar bill passed in both the Assembly and Senate but was vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.
     
  • In 2019 his effort passed the Senate overwhelmingly but was defeated in the Assembly.

Flash forward: As currently written, the new version of the legislation would see Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Coachella join San Francisco, West Hollywood and two other cities participating in a five-year pilot program.

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  • “We know nightlife is so incredibly important for our culture and for our economy,” Wiener said during a news conference last month in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. “When you think of why people move to cities, one of them is that they want to have a vibrant nightlife, be able to have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Zoom in: During a meeting this week of the Main Street Palm Springs business association, Mayor Lisa Middleton said even if the bill receives the governor’s signature, it doesn’t mean doors at nightclubs, restaurants and bars would remain open later immediately.

  • “Almost all of the bars and restaurants in the city have a conditional use permit that specifies they can only remain open until 2 a.m.,” Middleton said. “We have been supportive of that pilot, but would want to look very closely at any facility that asked to go from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. in a safe manner.”
     
  • “The law is the law,” added Palm Springs Police Dept. Lt. William Hutchinson, who oversees an area of the city that contains most of its bars. “We’ll work with that and see what impact it has down the road.”

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