BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – An amendment to last week’s Economic development bill might just make you smile. The Commonwealth is one step closer to the return of Happy Hour.
Last week’s economic development bill passed in the senate with a unanimous vote.
Included in the massive $4.57 billion bill was tax relief, major clean energy advancements and government infrastructure legislation.
Also included was an amendment creating a local-option happy hour program.
The amendment was submitted by Julian Cyr.
I understand why certain communities may not want happy hour, or happy hour is not a fit for every community in the Commonwealth. But I do really think Happy Hour can be a tool for placemaking, can be a tool for economic activity, can be helpful for some small businesses.
The amendment leaves the option up to cities and town’s legislative bodies. They would be able to vote to allow sale of discounted alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants during specific hours.
However, the promotion cannot run past 10 p.m. and must be publicly announced three days in advance.
Happy Hour is allowed in many other states, but has been prohibited in Massachusetts since 1984 due to drunk driving incidents.
Governor Baker has been a vocal opponent of Happy Hour in the past, and with the clock running out in the legislative session, he now holds power to veto or amend any legislation that reaches his desk.
It’s important to note that the House did not include Happy Hour language in their economic development bill, so we will have to wait and see if it survives in conference committee negotiations.