- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2016

Is it a saloon or a salon? That’s what critics ask about proposed legislation in California which would allow beauty salons and barber shops to serve alcohol without a license.

Gov. Jerry Brown is hearing plenty about AB 1322, a bill passed by the state assembly that would allow the business to include libations in the course of a hair cut.

Existing law makes it unlawful for anybody other than a licensee of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell, manufacture or import alcoholic beverages — with two exceptions. Limousine services or those who provide recreational hot air balloon rides can serve alcohol without a license or permit provided there is no extra charge or fee for the beverages. The new bill would allow the same thing in the Golden State’s 42,000 beauty salons and barber shops.

Activists are urging Mr. Brown to veto the legislation.

“This bill is nothing more than another ploy to enrich the special interest of a few and the alcohol lobby to the detriment of the health and safety of our community members,” said Richard Zaldivar, co-chair of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance.

The organization staged multiple demonstrations in Los Angeles last weekend to prove their point; their themes include “alcohol belongs in saloons, not salons,” and “cut my hair, not my liver.”

Mr. Saldivar notes that California has 10,000 alcohol-related deaths a year and that the number of venues allowed to serve alcohol in the state will increase by 41 percent if the bill is made law.

“Our community members suffer enough with thousands of alcohol related deaths and other physical harm,” he says.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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