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LANSING — Michigan municipalities would have the option of allowing downtown bars to stay open until 4 a.m. on weekend nights under a bill that passed the Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 247 passed by a 22-14 vote, after an earlier vote failed.

In testimony earlier this year, state Sen. Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, said the expanded hours would make the bars more competitive and would promote a “safe environment,” by either shutting down or regulating so-called “blind pigs,” which now operate illegally after 2 a.m.

The bill would allow bars and restaurants in central business districts across the state to expand the hours they sell alcohol to 4 a.m. Currently, those businesses must stop serving and selling at between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. But it would be up to each local government whether to permit the later hours.

It would apply only to central business districts with an improvement area such as a downtown development authority.

 

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