On July 15, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner brought happiness back to the Prairie State, signing a new law that allows happy hour alcoholic drink specials to return.
Back in 1989, Illinois law banned happy hour drink specials over concerns about drunk driving. Now, restaurants and bars can start offering drink specials for a specific number of hours, thanks to Rauner’s signature.
There are restrictions, though. Illinois law will now allow discounts on alcohol for up to fours each day, and up to 15 hours a week, just so long as the discounts are advertised a week in advance, and aren’t offered after 10 p.m. Volume specials, such as buy-one-get-one, remain prohibited.
Advocates of the new law celebrated the victory as a way to level the playing field for Illinois, and increase tourism to Chicago.
“This is an effort to recognize the fact that Illinois has become a culinary destination,” said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. “From heads in beds to butts in seats, food is really driving tourism in Illinois.”
Opponents, however, continued expressing fears that with the return of the dreaded happy hour would mean excessive drinking and drunken driving.
That being said, alcohol-related fatal crashes accounted for 49.6% of all fatal crashes in Illinois in 1988, according to The Chicago Tribune. In 2012, 41% of all fatal crashes in Illinois were alcohol-related.
Nevertheless, Illinois has also included several other restrictions, just to be safe. After all, state courts have looked to evidence of legislative intent in construing state law for over 100 years.
First, drinks can’t be given away as prizes, and games can’t involve consuming alcohol. Second, there can’t be any open bars — bars can’t offer unlimited drinks for a fixed price — unless it’s for a private function, such as a party. Third, violating the law could lead to the suspension or revocation of a license, or a fine.
The governor also approved bans on two powdered substances. One makes the sale of powdered alcohol a misdemeanor, and the other makes the sale of powdered caffeine to a minor a misdemeanor.