CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Members of the state Senate will face pressure from those in the hospitality and tourism industry to remove a provision — pushing back last call at West Virginia’s bars and casinos from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. – from a bill originally proposed to allow alcohol sales during Sunday brunches.

“We will make an effort to, at least, restore the existing closing times that are allowed by the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration,” said John Cavacini, president of the West Virginia Racing Association, of the bill the House of Delegates approved with a 70-26 vote this week.

If anything, Cavacini said he thinks alcohol sale hours should be expanded in West Virginia, not restricted.  “We need to be on a course that is in place today,” he said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The original intent of HB 4454 had nothing to do with bar closing times.  It was written to allow for alcohol sales starting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings so people who are going to brunch at a West Virginia restaurant, hotel or bed and breakfast can legally order an alcoholic drink.  Currently, those sales are prohibited, by law, until 1 p.m. on Sundays.

As part of a compromise in the House on the Sunday hours, Del. John Overington (R-Berkeley, 62) proposed the amendment that changed the nightly alcohol sale cut-off time.  Right now, alcohol sales stop at 3 a.m. in West Virginia which is later than cut-off times in a number of neighboring states.

Overington said an additional compromise may be to let destination sites, like hotels and casinos, serve alcohol later.

“These would not be the people that are coming from Maryland after they’ve had four or five drinks at a Maryland or Virginia or Ohio or Kentucky bar.  Those are the people that I was concerned about, getting them off the roads so they’re not attracted to West Virginia,” he said on Wednesday.

If the Senate approves the bill in its current form, alcohol sales at private clubs, including restaurants and casinos, would not be allowed between 2 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.

In the Senate, the bill has first been referred to the Senate Government Organization Committee with just more than two weeks remaining in the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.

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Comments

  • Ragweed

    the point is not about drinking per se, but that later hours allow people a longer opportunity to get a little more drunk. Then they hit the roads a little bit drunker, putting themselves and everybody else on the road, in greater jeopardy.

    We wouldn't need bills like this if people were personally responsible. But, alas, some people don't accept personal responsibility.

  • will

    I’m sure the police will like this because they won’t have to stay up late lurking around bars to arrest people for having a drink or two.. If they want to close bars early, OK. Then trade that for a .12 limit and get things in perspective… We are having our rights slowly taken away to the point you will have to register to buy beer. Nanny State government is tyranny.

  • Mountain dweller

    I live in a neighborhood with a bar and the issue us that bars are not located in isolation. People live near most bars so moving the time to 2 am would be great. Our neighborhood bar already regularly sometimes stays open to 4 am or later and the police have had to be called more than once. If you want to drink past 2 am go home and drink.

    • edog355

      Maybe we should forcibly close convenience stores, hospitals, police stations and other places that stay open past 2am. I'm sure having those near your home would also be annoying with the traffic in an out at all hours of the night. No?

      • Mountain dweller

        The answer is no. Because the neighborhood bar has drunks in the street at 3-4 am screaming obscenities and breaking beer bottles. No comparison.

  • Aaron

    Wait. What if one of the football games goes into 17 OT's. Can the drunks in MorganGommorah cater to the in crowd or not?

  • Aaron

    Allow drinking at all hours but tax it at a higher rate during times the legislature deems it immoral to drink.

  • Hollow hunter

    Just for bars and casinos ?! So I can't go to a convienence store at 10:30 am on Sunday to purchase beer or wine ?! Common man screwd again !

  • smith

    If u would ever accept JESUS as your personal savior u would understand why we work to stop the drugs and alcohol.

  • Tim D.

    Another bill that won't change a dang thing.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    So I would like to ask Delegate Overington..."If I moved to the center of the state, could I drink later since no 'foreigners' could make it to my bar in time?"

    Why is it that so many Republicans want you to stay out of their pockets, but have no problem dictating how you should behave?

    • Jason

      I don't see it as a Republican or Democrat thing...I think there really is a very fine line between the two. We need to get rid of political parties all together and just have politicians run on their platforms, and then hold them accountable...if they do what they say..then vote them back in..if they dont...vote them out. People get too hung up on wanting their "team" to win instead of focusing on the actual issues that effect the people.

  • rose

    Nice alliteration.

  • Joe

    We need ol' Abe Lincoln to address this issue........"four scotch and seven beers ago........"!!!!

  • The bookman

    I teetotal-ly agree!

    • The bookman

      Duplicate post, sorry disregard!

  • WV Proud

    There is no reason for anyone to be partying and drinking past 2AM. That is plenty of time to enjoy the spirits and socialize. This bill should be passed.

    • edog355

      So because you don't "party and drink past 2am" then nobody else should either. Little self-centered of you don't you think?

      Hopefully this dumb idea will die in the Senate.

    • Sid

      Thank you for saying this. I don't know what I'd do if I had to take responsibility for my own actions instead of having my decisions legislated for me.

      Can we trade emails so you can keep me informed on all the other things I should and shouldn't do?

      • Patchy

        Mountaineers are always free...unless you're doing something I don't like and I'll sic the legislature on you.

      • Jason

        Agreed. I don't understand why people are so afraid of freedom. Values, morals (aka, making good decisions), should be on the shoulders of families and upbringing...not the government. If you don't think it is a good idea to be out at a bar at 2am, then don't.

      • ShinnstonGuy

        As the saying goes...

        +1

  • Jason

    Why is there time parameters on alcohol sales anyway? Why can't any business with a liquor license sell alcohol anytime they want when they are open? What is the connection with Sunday and alcohol sales? Is the argument to save lives from drunk drivers or something? People can drink their face off during the legal hours or at a friends house for that matter and get into a car. Should be pretty easy to look at data, look at states where the alcohol hours are later and see if there is a correlation.