WWLP.com reports that Senator Robert Hedlund, a Republican from Hingham, is backing away from his Senate-passed casino amendment that proposes to return Happy Hour to Massachusetts. Instead, he’s suggesting that the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission review its regulations on bars and restaurants and propose revisions.
Hedlund said the six-member casino bill conference committee tasked with consolidating the House and Senate versions of the expanded gaming bill can certainly make changes to his amendment.
The Hingham Republican’s change of tone comes after facing criticism from the public for supporting stronger drunk driving penalties and also discounted drinks in bars and restaurants.
Hedlund says that a Happy Hour will not increase drunk driving statistics and it will help bars and restaurants compete with casinos. But he realizes his amendment is unpopular. Hedlund said the intent of his amendment is to help businesses attract customers and create jobs, and he’s willing to try an alternative approach to achieve that end.