An East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council member has proposed a change in parish law to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, according to an item on Wednesday’s meeting agenda.
District 2 Metro Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison will introduce an amendment to the city-parish’s Wine, Beer and Liquor ordinance that would create a “late-night permit” bar owners could apply for that would allow the extended hours on three nights of the week. The council could vote on the item at its Oct. 24 meeting.
Bars in the parish now must close by 2 a.m.
Addison, who did not return messages left on his cellphone and at his district office, could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.
Addison’s proposal comes on the heels of two proposed amendments by Metro Councilwoman Alison Gary that would remove restrictions on Sunday retail alcohol sales and allow all bars to open on a Sunday.
Gary said she didn’t see any connection between her proposals, which will be voted on by the full council Wednesday, and Addison’s plan for extending bar hours.
“I feel like my proposals don’t really relate to his,” Gary said. “I just want to treat Sunday like any other day when it comes to the sale of alcohol.”
Gary said she had not read Addison’s proposed amendment but she spoke to him briefly about his plan.
Gary didn’t say how she would vote on Addison’s proposal, but she said, in general, she didn’t have a problem with Addison’s plan.
“For the most part, I’m against laws and restrictions when it comes to businesses,” Gary said.
Police Chief Dewayne White said he is against Addison’s proposal because it is an issue of public safety.
“It’s a bad idea,” White said. “Bars stay open later, it gives people more time to imbibe alcoholic beverages and that leads to more people to drink and drive.”
White also said drinking alcohol at bars can lead to fights and an increase in calls to police officers to deal with gun violence.
“Often, you have two combatants who get into it at a bar and one decides to settle the score by getting a firearm and bringing it back in,” White said.
White said the extra hours of alcohol sales would increase call volume and tax police officers.
White said if compelled, he will go to a Metro Council meeting to speak against the proposal.
Assistant Parish Attorney Joseph Scott said certain details of the proposed amendment, such as the permit fee, have not been finalized.
“This is not something that is mandatory, it’s a voluntary thing,” Scott said.
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