By David Fleet
Bars and restaurants statewide could keep the drinks coming until 4 a.m. with a bill currently under consideration in the State House. The bill, sponsor Rep. Ryan Berman takes aim at helping bars financially after many lost during the coronavirus restrictions. The measure would allow businesses to stay open and serve alcohol until 4 a.m. once the restrictions are lifted and provided the municipalities to decide if the later bar hours were right for their community.
House Bill 4115 was co-sponsored by Sara Cambensy (D-109th District) and Gary Eisen (R-81st District). Bill sponsor Rep. Ryan Berman recently testified in front of a state House committee that would allow local municipalities to pass their own rules to extend the pre-pandemic cutoff of 2 a.m. to make it 4 a.m.
“The bill is ridiculous,” said Greg Glover, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Brandon substation commander. “It’s bad enough with a 2 a.m. closing time for bars. By pushing that now to 4 in the morning the early raisers on their way to work are often on the road. Locally on at 4 a.m. on M-15 traffic is already picking up and now you’re putting possible intoxicated people along with them.”
This is very dangerous legislation, he added.
“Your clientele between 2 and 4 a.m. would be such a select few,” said Glover. “If you stay at that establishment until 4 there’s a good chance you’re intoxicated.”
Some supporters argue that workers who are on the job until 11 a.m. would have more opportunity to have a late dinner or drink.
“Right now if you get off work at 11 p.m. you have three hours to drink,” he said.
At least one local establishment is not supportive of the bill.
“I understand this would be a good thing for third shift workers,” said Amy Guirey, Village Pub, 411 Mill St., Ortonville. “But we don’t have any third shift factories (locally). I don’t think that would be a benefit to The Pub. Right now we are open from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. and that works. This may help some nightclub that has entertainment, but not us. If you close at 4 a.m. and open at 7 a.m. for the day, that’s only three hours to clean the bar. It’s just not going to help.”
State Rep.John Reilly (R-46th) which includes Brandon Township supports the concept of allowing establishments to make these decisions at the local level. However, an amendment was added to the bill that creates a new late-night permit fee of $250. To Rep. Reilly, this is an unnecessary requirement and only an opportunity for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to make a profit.
“I voted no on Rep. Berman’s HB 4213 in 2020,” said Reilly which would allow local governments to extend the allowable hours of selling alcohol from 2 am to 4 am. I support the concept of the legislation, but an amendment was added to the bill that creates a new late-night permit fee of $250. This amendment is unnecessary and only an opportunity for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to profit off of our local businesses. Should House Bill 4115 come before the house for a third and final vote without changes to the language as the bill currently stands, I will once again vote in opposition to this bill.”