I’m agnostic on the issue of happy hours.
It will be interesting to see how it works out. This from the Washington Post:
Yay! People in Illinois can now drink alcohol!
More accurately: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill Wednesday that allows people in his state to drink at cheaper prices during pre-set times that coincide with them getting off work (which, when you think about it, is a pretty great time to imbibe).
Until Wednesday, Illinois was one of 12 states banning happy hour. That’s right, it was banned — or, at least, offering drink specials for a specific number of hours was.
Why was it illegal in the first place?
In 1989, lawmakers concerned about drunken driving banned happy hour.
They were following the lead of DuPage County, which saw banning happy hour as the best solution to cut down on binge drinking and drunken driving.
The Chicago Tribune reports alcohol-related fatal crashes were 49.6 percent of all fatal crashes in the state in 1988, the year before the ban went into effect. In 2012, that number was at 41 percent.
The ban’s rules weren’t clear cut, though. While happy hour wasn’t allowed, happy days were OK. A bar could offer half-price bottles of wine on Tuesday, but those specials had to be all day. And you technically were not supposed to offer a drink special with a meal, though a lot of higher-end restaurants did anyways, Peter Frost of Crain’s Chicago Business reports. Frost also says house-infused spirits were illegal, but many mixologists ignored that, too.
The theory was that people wouldn’t binge-drink if the specials didn’t have a cut-off time.
Will people drink more in bars and less at home? How will it affect ridership on the CTA and Metra? Will it cause more problems or will it just mean people will be causing them in bars rather than their own neighborhoods? Will there be more drunk/impaired driving or have those laws been stiffened enough to cut down on that phenomenon this time around?
Or will it have little to no effect at all on public safety?