Governor signs law allowing NE bars to stay open until 2:00 am
DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - After a long day at work, you may go out for a drink. And in Nebraska, bar hours could get longer.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has signed a bill into law allowing cities to extend bar hours until 2 a-m.
Right now, they're only open until one.
Lawmakers say they wanted to give more alcohol control powers directly to Nebraska communities.
"We were one of the more conservative states on the bar closing time, but we felt that at the end of the day this was a decision that should be left up to the local communities that want to extend to 2 am," says Sen. Mike Flood, (R) Speaker of the Legislature.
Metro areas, like Omaha, have been fighting for the policy for a while.
They want bars to stay open later so they can compete with bars across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
There bars stay open until two a-m.
But local bars may not want the extra hour.
Jac's in Dakota City is a hometown bar and its owner Rich Korthuis is a home town guy. Until now, Korthuis has kept his bar open till one A.M. which was as long as state law would allow.
"I'm old, I try and stay in bed at 10 o' clock, if I'm up till one I can hardly move the next day," says Korthuis.
The law has changed though. City councils now have the power to add one more hour to "closing time." The change could be beneficial for bars that compete with surrounding states, where bars are open till 2 am. But, Korthuis sees the change as a little extra work and he doesn't want it.
"I think that by one o' clock if you can't get loaded by one o clock then two I'll be cleaning up the bathrooms a little bit more," says Korthuis.
City council members in South Sioux City feel the same. They say the bar time issue hasn't been on their agenda... and they won't pursue later hours unless bar owners come forward and ask for a change.
"I just think that one is late enough especially during the week... I don't know Nebraska has been that way forever and I don't see why they should change it," says Dan Bousquet, South Sioux City Council Member.
South Sioux City police say they don't know what to expect if bars stay open until two, but they'll be ready.
"Our midnight shift is out their they will be enforcing the laws... when they open or when they close we will be doing our job as we have been," says Lt. Ed Mahon, South Sioux City Police Dept.
Back at Jac's, Korthuis say's ultimately his patrons are his biggest concern. Having an extra hour of drinking can be a dangerous situation for him.
Jac's bar is pretty empty in the afternoons, but in the evenings Korthuis says its the place to be in South Sioux. He says he's got loyal customers too, he just hates cleaning up after them.
"2 o clock I'll probably have bigger messes around but at least 1 o clock they can keep there cookies down."
City council members need a two-thirds majority-- instead of just a simple majority-- to pass the bar ordinance.
That means cities with seven council members need five to approve to pass the ordinance.