Twin Cities bars might have the chance to stay open until 4 a.m. for the Republican National Convention in September.
A Minnesota House committee yesterday approved the proposal, which would apply to the seven-county metro area. Cities would be able to decide where to allow the later bar hours, if at all. They could charge businesses up to $2,500 for the permits.
Republican Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove said the 4 a.m. last call would better accommodate out-of-town visitors who have some extra cash to burn during the RNC.
"Super Bowls, the Olympics, Final Four, whatever it may be, this happens for those big events as well," Zellers said. "And a lot of it has to do with the setup and takedown, and members of the media not having their story done until 1 or 2 and want to have something to eat before they go to bed."
The later closing times would last for five days beginning Aug. 31st.
Zellers said he worked with the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis to craft the bill. A similar House proposal raised objections from the St. Paul City Council, in part because it didn't provide cities with many regulatory options.
"The city can actually deny a permit to that area or geographically limit the area, so if there's a certain place, whether it be downtown Minneapolis, or St. Paul, or Stillwater, and they want to limit that area or that particular bar -- if they have a history of high-call volume -- the cities have the authority in this bill to keep them from having this permit," he said.
Zellers' bill was folded into a House liquor bill, and is expected to head to the House floor.