CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last call for bars and clubs in West Virginia would be moved up an hour under a bill passed by the House of Delegates Monday (HB4454).
Also Monday, the House passed a perennial bill to allow persons with concealed weapons permits to have firearms in vehicles on the Capitol Complex (HB4309).
The alcoholic beverage bill initially was intended to allow bars, clubs and restaurants with liquor licenses to serve drinks as early as 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
However, the House adopted an amendment by Delegate John Overington, R-Berkeley, to cut off nightly sales of alcoholic beverages at 2 a.m., instead of the current 3 a.m. nightly.
Overington has pushed for the earlier last call in previous sessions, contending that the state's 3 a.m. cutoff attracts drinkers from neighboring states, where bars are required by law to close earlier. He has said it's a particular problem in the Eastern Panhandle.
"It means we attract the wrong type of people from Pennsylvania, Maryland, who come to West Virginia because they want a few extra drinks," he said Monday.
The amendment passed 53-42, despite concerns raised by Judiciary Chairman Tim Manchin, D-Marion, that the change could cost the state about $9 million a year in lost Lottery revenue.
That's because more than 8,000 limited video lottery machines at some 1,600 bars and clubs around the state by law must shut down when sales of alcoholic beverages are cut off each night.