Tequila Sunrises could be served at sunrise in bars, taverns and restaurants in Washington under a proposed rule change.
Businesses now must stop serving alcohol from 2 to 6 a.m.
Seattle officials have asked the Washington State Liquor Control Board to change that in an effort to boost Seattle's nightlife, tourism and tax dollars. And some argue it could help public safety, as well.
Max Faulkner, co-owner and general manager of Richland's Jokers Night Club, thinks it would be a good idea in the Tri-Cities, too.
When he gives the last call for drinks a 1:30 a.m., the bar is packed. "The party's just going," he told the Herald.
More than 1,500 people visit the club a night Thursday through Saturday, he said.
But by 1:50 a.m., the bar is empty.
"We have to shut down," Faulkner said.
Jokers and other businesses could serve alcohol all the time, if the liquor control board agrees to change the rule and then allows cities to individually apply for the extended hours.
The state board will take public testimony from 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. toda at the Kennewick Police Department. It's one of four hearings statewide.
More than 200 Tri-City businesses and 8,000 Washington businesses have permits to serve alcohol, according to a report released this week by the liquor board.
"The board wants to know if this is the type of rule that cities would like to see," said Brian Smith, liquor board spokesman.
Faulkner said he would welcome the change because it would be good for business and possibly public safety.
"The advantage of it would be that all the people in the taverns and nightclubs wouldn't hit the streets at the same time," Faulkner said.
Seattle made similar claims that traffic caused by the uniform closing time burdened public transportation and the police department.
But Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg said policing bars at closing time only is one of many tasks officers focus on during early morning hours.
"The reality of it is, the people who are going to drink alcohol and do illegal activities, such as driving drunk, will do so regardless of the time of day," Hohenberg told the Herald.
He said he remembers pulling drunk drivers over at 1 p.m.
Smith said the Seattle Police Department and Clark County Sheriff's office support the proposal. However, officers from Battle Ground and Vancouver have spoken against the change.
Hohenberg said Seattle's proposal gives local cities control. However, he said he plans to listen to the testimony before forming an opinion on whether Kennewick should make the change.
And, he said, since Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland are close neighbors, each city should consider the effect the change could have throughout the Tri-Cities before making a decision.
Anyone can testify at today's hearing.
Hearings already have been held in Seattle and Vancouver, and the final hearing is in Spokane on Monday.
The liquor board could make a decision on the issue as soon as May 7.
For more information on the hearings, contact Samantha Trotter, board executive assistant, at email@example.com.
-- Eric Francavilla, a Herald intern from Washington State University, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.