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Legislature rejects earlier closing time for local bars

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

After months of debate, Erie County legislators rejected a push to move bar closing hours back from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m.

In the end, only three legislators supported asking Albany for earlier "Last Call." This came down to a battle between the jobs bars represent and those who saw social damage from drinking, whether DWI or noise in neighborhoods.

"This has real economic and fiscal impacts of people in our community," said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo.
"You also heard the people that said nothing good happens after 2 a. m., or nothing good happens after midnight or nothing good happens after 8 o'clock. When does it stop? "

This started with a push from County Clerk Chris Jacobs last summer and went through months of debate and finished on Tuesday with nearly 60 speakers at a public hearing battling back and forth on the issues.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.