Senators Object to Later Alcohol Sales for Inauguration

WASHINGTON -- Two U.S. senators are urging the District of Columbia to reverse a decision that allows bars, restaurants and nightclubs to serve alcohol later than usual during the inauguration.
The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation last week that will allow any establishment with a liquor license to serve alcohol an extra three hours, until 5 a.m., between Jan. 17 and Jan. 21.
In a letter Tuesday, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, wrote that extending the sale of alcohol will divert law enforcement resources away from their primary focus on security.
The senators are asking Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray to reverse the legislation, saying the benefits "are far outweighed by its possible consequences."
Attorney General Peter Nickles told the Washington Post that Fenty has not yet signed the emergency legislation.
Fenty understands the senators’ concerns, but he stopped short of promising changes in the law, which may not apply as many bars, restaurants and nightclubs as once believed. Of the more than 1,000 bars and restaurants licensed to sell alcohol in D.C., more than 300 have legally binding voluntary agreements with community groups limiting their hours and operations.
Fenty said he will keep the city safe no matter what the liquor laws are.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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