New Bill Would Permit Michigan Bars To Serve Alcohol Until 4:00 AM

The bar scene in West Michigan might change a bit, if a bill sponsored by two Democrats and a Republican is passed into law.  Senate Bill 247 was introduced in early March.  If passed as written, it would allow bars to stay open until 4:00 am if they pay a $10,000 fee to the state.
The bill reads, “An on premises licensee located within a central business district in a city may sell or furnish alcoholic liquor between the hours of 2:00 am and 4:00 am on any day if the licensee has obtained an extended hours permit from the commission.  To obtain an extended hours permit, a licensee shall submit a completed application and a yearly permit fee of $10,000.00 to the state.”
Other requirements, include providing one security person for every 50 customers and having or installing a 360-degree video surveillance system on the premises.
One bar owner told us that staying open until 4:00 am could be a big money-maker for West Michigan bars.
It would also put millions of dollars into state coffers with the recommended fees attached.
However, not everybody is on board.
The owner of Barfly Ventures, Mark Sellers, feels the money is not worth the price to the community.

He says drinking and driving, fighting, noise issues and other complaints will be detrimental to the area.

“I don’t support it at all as a bar owner and I hope none of the bars downtown Grand Rapids try to get one of these 4:00 am licenses because it won’t be good for downtown,” said Sellers.

 Since the bill was just introduced in March, it could be months before it’s voted on and a possible final version of the bill reaches the governor’s desk.
(D) Senator Bert Johnson, (D) Senator Virgil Smith and (R) Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville co-sponsored the bill.

28 comments

  • LisaM

    If I remember correctly, the original bill in 2009, which Governor Granholm supported, required that restaurants stop serving alcohol at 2AM. The intent was to allow restaurants to stay open to give patrons time to sober up so that they did not drive drunk. They might instead serve coffee, pop and food, I support allowing bars to stay open til 4AM, but I do not support the sale of alcohol after 2AM.

      • LisaM

        I checked further and the bill in 2009 pertained to entertainment, allowing bars to continue to provide entertainment, not alcohol, until 4AM. Sorry for the confusion. I don't think, though, that that bill ever became reality.

  • Earl

    We need more drunks on the roads..that way the roads will never be safe.
    Odd that more people are killed by drunks than guns, but no campaign to fix THAT.

  • Shariann

    HORRIBLE IDEA!!!! I have a heck of a time getting my husband home after 2 a.m. – let alone 4 a.m.! I HATE THIS, HATE THIS, HATE THIS!!!! Find another way to fill the State Coffers you JERKS!!!!!!

  • LetsGoBlue

    This spells bad news for the smaller businesses that can't really afford to pay $10K/year. Many people will choose to go to the establishments that opt in, so they will be sort of screwed either way. I have no problem with the restriction decrease, however, in fact I don't agree with any restrictions. I feel for those who are like the commenter that complained her husband is already out late, but that's no reason to restrict the freedoms of those that act responsibly.

    • DanT

      I Really cant't see any bar that cant afford to pay an extra $10,000 a year for this new license. Lets say on the LOWEST end the establishment does an extra $1,000 in sales on each Friday and Saturday night (simple to do with an extra 2 hours), that amounts to $104,000 in extra sales a year. Paying less than 10% of that should be a no-brainer from a business standpoint.

      • jim

        Your assumption is that there will be at least 50 people in the bar buying 4 drinks each between 2 and 4. Most SMALL bars will not have nearly 50 people in them at that time. Maybe 5-10 people if that. At $10,000 fee, this is geared towards large bars.

        • dv727

          I can see it now……..the bar police, showing up and counting heads and drinks at 2:20AM. Better police for a better police state.

  • anonymous

    My job requires me to drive at night and i already see enough morons on the road. Giving people 2 more hours to drink would be a disaster waiting to happen. I guess we haven’t seen enough people die yet!

    • dv727

      Maybe we should ban ANYONE from driving late at night unless they have government-approved travel papers!! That worked so well in……Germany……in the 30's and 40's, didn't it??

  • Rose

    Like enough people arn't killed every day on our rd's let them stay till time for people to head to work and school Damn fools

  • dv727

    Can you spell FREEDOM?? Why should the government determine what time ANY business should close?? Concerned about drunk drivers?? Catch 'em!! (Cops violate enough laws in search of this Holy Grail anyway.) Concerned about "showing up late for work or school?" Don't stay out! (Is someone holding a Mark Kelly disapproved firearm to your head??)

  • barguy

    eh… dumb idea.. I love the bars, and the beers that come with it, but really. after 2am there is no need to keep drinking. You drink you do stupid things, like spend all your money, drive, fight, blow up hotdogs in backseats. Which all leads to hospital bills, divorce, DUI court fees etc etc.. Lets be the helpers here not the enablers. The 2am rule is about safety, I can't believe these idiots are making it about money. Common sense people.

    Chicago bars that are open till 4am are basically just gang hangouts.. really its not very nice.

    You want to generate revenue, setup late night public transportation to the burbs, start a city run cab service..

  • mitchman1123

    no offense….but who ever edited that, chopped up what I said- she showed what I said would be a pro, but did not show the cons i also discussed

  • Eric

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