DENVER - More time to drink but less time for trouble. That is the thought behind proposed legislation to extend the state's window for alcohol sales, perhaps long past 2 a.m.
The bonus booze time is designed to benefit law enforcement.
"It's always been 2 a.m.," Helen Wood of Tavern Downtown said. "I think that's pretty typical for bars."
State Representative Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) wants to give each city a choice to decide when to stop serving.
She says when all bars let out at 2 a.m., there's a bigger risk of bad behavior.
"At that closing hour, that is when you see so many people on the streets," Duran said. "A lot of fights break out, even shootings have occurred."
LoDo has seen its share of recent violence. A deadly shooting last July near Market and 15th streets was followed by another shooting in December and an assault on New Year's Day.
Duran's legislation gives cities the power to set closing times, as late or early as 7 a.m., but its design is to stagger when people pour into the streets after a night of drinking.
"People naturally leave throughout the evening. You don't want hundreds of people push out onto the street at one time, which is typically the time when we've seen a lot of fights in Denver," she said.
Duran does expect local leaders to take a conservative approach.
"I think they're more likely to look at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., depending on the needs of their area," Duran said.
As for the bars themselves, they still have to be sold on it.
"You really want to know the ins and outs of everything before you make a decision," Wood said.
Duran has worked with the City and County of Denver in drafting her bill. It will be discussed in committee meetings for the next couple weeks. At the earliest, it would make it to the governor's desk by April or May.
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