Push to end Massachusetts’ ban on happy hour moves forward


BOSTON (WPRI) — There hasn’t been a happy hour in Massachusetts for decades, but there’s a new push to change that moving forward.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey certified more than 30 potential ballot questions, and lifting the ban on happy hour drink specials was one of them.

The state did away with happy hours in 1984 in an effort to reduce drunk-driving crashes.

More than 70 percent of Massachusetts residents are in favor of bringing happy hour back, according to a recent survey from MassINC Polling Group.

Supporters see it as a way to help local businesses, noting how the availability of to-go cocktails during the pandemic shows people can be responsible.

Advocates also say happy hour can be brought back safely through limits on alcohol consumption and the availability of ride-sharing apps.

“I don’t think this is any different than the structure we have in place for serving anyone who’s over the age of 21,” Nick Silveira, who filed the initiative petition, told our sister station WWLP-TV.

Healey’s office will now work to determine if the question meets all the constitutional requirements. If so, supporters would then need to gather more than 80,000 signatures for the legislature to consider it.

If the proposal makes it through the proper channels, the proposal could appear on ballots as early as 2022.

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