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Vote set to determine when bars will close

Posted at 12:29 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 06:55:23-05

The Erie County Legislature is expected to vote on a resolution Thursday, that would change bar closing times.

Some politicians are upset because the legislature didn't have a public hearing to discuss the change before deciding to have a vote.

"They just seem to be trying to sweep it under the rug and move on," said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs. "I've tried to get the word out and make my case. If you don't agree with that fine, have a public hearing."

Jacobs helped fund a study that asked 600 people if they supported bars closing earlier. Sixty-nine percent said they would.

Democratic Minority Leader Thomas Loughran also thinks the legislature should have discussed the proposal more.

"Why wouldn't you want to have a public hearing to get all the information and then make an informed decision," said Loughran. "My hope is that cooler heads will prevail and they'll call for a public hearing and then schedule a vote."

Loughran said there was never any discussion of the proposal during sessions last week. He said he's not on either side of the fence.

"I'd like to get all the information. If this is a public safety issue then I could be persuaded," said Loughran.

The resolution calling on the NYS Liquor Authority to ban the sale of alcohol in Erie County after 2 a.m. was sponsored by Republican Legislator Ted Morton. Morton tells 7 Eyewitness News he received "little support" from other legislators and expects the proposal to go down in defeat.

Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joe Lorigo is one of those against the idea. Lorigo says he has talked to dozens of bar owners and researched the issue, leading him to believe the time change will not make things safer.

"In fact, it is the opposite. You'll have more people on the road at 2 a.m. then at 4 a.m. You'll have more potential for accidents, more potential for people to get hurt and it just doesn't make sense," added Lorigo.

The legislature will vote on the resolution at 2 p.m.

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