POLL: Should 'Happy Hour' be Reinstated in MA?

The state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission is taking comments from people and businesses about whether "Happy Hour" should be reintroduced. Some businesses feel proposed gaming establishments will otherwise have an unfair advantage.

"Happy Hour" drink specials ended in Massachusetts 28 years ago, in an effort to reduce drunken driving and alcohol-related driving deaths.

Now, a state agency that oversees alcohol sales and regulations is considering whether to allow bars and restaurants to feature drink specials, as a way to compete with all-night casinos.

The issue first came up last year, when the legislature considered the gaming bill. But it did not make it into the final package approved early this year by Gov. Deval Patrick.

Before the ban, bars could offer Happy Hour specials, such as two-for-one drink specials, or $1 beers. That option became unlawful in Massachusetts in 1984.

The ban took effect under former Gov. Michael Dukakis. Contacted by the New York Times last year, he said he was appalled the prohibition could be removed. “Unquestionably, people will lose their lives if this happens,” he told the newspaper.

The fourth of five public hearings on the issue will be held Tuesday in Boston, by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. Any commission recommendation must be filed by June 30, 2013 with the state House and Senate. [Editor's Note: see attached PDF]

What do you think? Is it time to give bars and restaurants an option to use these promotions? Or should Happy Hour remain a thing of the past? Vote in the poll and share your opinion in the comment section.

Abby August 18, 2012 at 08:12 PM
As it is, I only drink at home or at a friend's house. The idea of Happy Hour is wonderful and inexpensive in this crappy economy.
Abby August 18, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Then offer to be a designated driver.
Kathy Reven August 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Before I said yes or no, I'd want to see some statistics as to whether or not banning happy hour actually cut back on drunk driving incidents. I know I constantly see police reports with DUIs posted, some for multiple times. I'd also want to see reports about drunk driving incidents in other states that do allow happy hours.
John Ryan August 18, 2012 at 11:54 PM
We all know the laws and the rules, we can monitor ourselves. Thank You very much. I will have my large soda, my two beers and tell Gov. Patrick to focus on lowering the 9% unemployment rate.
Bob Weir August 31, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I'm all for it. The rule is you're not supposed to drive smashed. And people can get drunk at home, at a friends or even at a state park where booze is probably banned. Nobody's watching. Someone could get behind the wheel and break the "rule". At a licensed facility, they ARE watching and will shut you off. Whether the drinks are on special or not, it is up to the individual to follow the rule. Period.


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