Hassan okays later last call for N.H. bars in select cities, towns
At some New Hampshire bars, last call could come an hour later starting next year.
Gov. Maggie Hassan on Wednesday signed a bill allowing local governments to extend last call to 2 a.m., or else remain at the current statewide closing time of 1 a.m.
The law takes effect Jan. 1.
As originally introduced by Republican Rep. Mark Warden of Goffstown, the bill would have extended the statewide closing time to 2 a.m. Warden argued that 46 states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, had later closing times than New Hampshire’s 1 a.m.
The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee added an opt-out provision, allowing individual towns and cities to keep their closing time at 1 a.m. The Senate then amended the bill to keep the statewide closing time at 1 a.m., except in towns and cities that decide to allow bars to remain open an hour later, and the House agreed.
The final version passed the Republican-led Senate on a voice vote and the Democratic-led House, 220-109. Hassan at the time indicated she would sign the bill because it offered local communities an opt-in, rather than an opt-out.
Adopting the later last call will require a vote at town meeting or, in New Hampshire’s 13 cities, a vote by the city council or board of aldermen.
But don’t expect the Concord City Council to fast-track an ordinance.
“This is one of those things where it would usually come as a request from someone in the community before we would consider it,” said Concord Mayor Jim Bouley.
Bouley said if someone in Concord did ask for the later last call, the request would likely go to city lawyers, the police department and the Public Safety Board for review before the council would hold a public hearing.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)