The head of the Washington Liquor Control Board said public comments are split about 50-50 on the proposal to extend the closing time for bars past 2 a.m.
Sharon Foster made the comment on KEPR after the board's Wednesday hearing in Kennewick. The board has also held hearings in Seattle and Vancouver, and the final hearing will be Monday in Spokane.
The proposal comes from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn who says it would enliven the city's music and entertainment scene. Supporters say it would address the violence and disorder that often accompanies the "push out" at closing time. Opponents say it would mean more alcohol consumption, drunken driving and demands on police.
Officials in at least one Western Washington city have voiced opposition to the proposal. In a letter to the LCB, the mayor and city council of Federal Way wrote that extending late-night hours for bars would increase the number of drunk drivers and, accordingly, the demand on public safety and emergency response resources.
The liquor board is expected to make a decision in May. A change would go into effect in November.