Bottoms Up: Mich. Lawmakers Consider Extending ‘Last Call’
LANSING (WWJ) – That one last call for alcohol could come around 4 a.m. if Michigan lawmakers approve a new bill to extend drinking hours.
State lawmakers are considering a new bill that would let bars and restaurants in central business districts extend last call by two hours. Current state law prohibits businesses from selling alcohol between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Supporters say the move would make Detroit more competitive with other big cities. But not everyone is toasting the idea.
“You have the people in the bar business who say ‘If we stay open until 4 o’clock, business will be good and a lot of young people like to stay up late so it will be good for the economy,'” said WWJ’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
“Then, you have former Sheriff Rick Jones, whose been on the roads for a number of years, saying ‘What? How bad is it when people are out in the bars until 2 a.m. and now 4 a.m.? This is a disaster waiting to happen,'” Skubick said.
If lawmakers approve the measure, businesses would have to buy a special after-hours permit each year, to the tune of $10,000. Most of that money would be distributed to local police departments, with 10 percent going to the Liquor Control Commission and five percent going to the local unit of government.
For PJ Ryder, who owns PJ’s Lager House in Corktown, the annual expense would be money well spent.
“I don’t like [kicking people out at 2 a.m.] if we’ve had a very good show and people are feeling good, they’re talking to each other and hanging around a little bit. I would rather be able to just kind of clean up around them, get them all out of here by 3 and we’re fine,” Ryder told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson.
Ryder said he fully supports the legislation because it could change the way he runs his business for the better.
“As far as being able to ease out of here at closing time as opposed to more or less pushing people out of here, that’s the reason that I’m in favor of it,” he said.
The bill could be taken up in a Senate committee in the coming weeks, but Skubick said don’t count on seeing any changes soon.
“My guess is this is probably not going to move very quickly, but it will be an interesting debate to see who wins,” he said.