- The Washington Times - Friday, December 29, 2006

Resisting its usual nanny-state tendencies, the D.C. Council wants everyone to have a fun New Year’s Eve. Three years ago, the council approved a measure that would allow bars to serve until 4 a.m. and liquor stores to be open when the holiday falls on a Sunday, as it does tomorrow. Before the permanent change, the council would usually enact emergency legislation, so we’re not witnessing a new wave of libertinism from the normally killjoy lawmakers.

While we welcome the nod to Bacchanalia revelry, we can’t help but smile at the irony. For just as soon as you emerge from the New Year’s hangover, you’ll remember that starting Tuesday, Jan. 2, all smoking will be banned from D.C. bars and restaurants. It’s gets even better when we hear that the reason the council approved the measure was out of a concern for keeping tax dollars in the city on one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. If only lawmakers cared as much about tax dollars and small businesses the remaining 364 days of the year. But we’ll take what we can get.

There’s also the issue of drinking and driving to consider. New Year’s Eve celebrants should keep in mind that the police will be out in force and that the Metro will close promptly at 2 a.m. — two full hours before last call. Make sure to designate that sober driver or, better yet, leave the car and call a cab. If only on New Year’s Eve, Metro should seriously consider staying open as long as the bars are still serving. Allowing liquor stores to operate should persuade a few folks to skip the raucous bar scene in favor of a party at home.

However you choose to ring in 2007, the Editorial Page wishes everyone a safe and happy New Year — and, dare we say, offer a toast to the D.C. Council.

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