Massachusetts Governor Baker: Reviving Happy Hour ‘Not a Good Idea’
It has been 38 years since Massachusetts outlawed "Happy Hour," drink specials offered by bars during the late afternoon and early evening to attract folks on their way home from work. Legislation is pending on Beacon Hill that would revive the practice.
The barkeeps say Happy Hour promotions are good for business, but so do hospital emergency rooms. Police argue that Happy Hour celebrations resulted in more alcohol-related car crashes, injuries, and deaths.
Lawmakers who favor the return of happy hour say there are many more options available now to drivers that weren't available when the drink promotions were prohibited in 1984, such as Lyft and Uber.
However, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker isn't buying any of it.
During his regular appearance on Boston's National Public Radio station WGBH on Monday, Baker vowed to veto a revival of Happy Hour should a bill reach his desk.
"The simple truth of the matter is people got overserved a lot in the old days, and I believe people will continue to get overserved," Baker said. "There are consequences associated with that, and the consequences in many cases I don't think justify or are worth the benefit that's associated with, you know, 25-cent drinks."
State House News Service reported the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) came out against a revival of Happy Hour in July.
MRA president and CEO Stephen Clark told lawmakers in a letter the group opposes "any provision" that would alter the ban on Happy Hour.
"For the four decades, the present public policy in Massachusetts has worked. There has not been much outcry from industry to change these laws," Clark said.
Baker agrees, saying reviving Happy Hour is "not a good idea."