N.C. House Bill 94 was filed on Feb. 13 to reintroduce happy hour — which has been outlawed since 1985 in the state over concerns about drunk driving.
Happy hour is a specific time of the day when a bar or restaurant sells alcoholic drinks at reduced prices.
The bill has strong bipartisan support. The primary sponsors of the bill are N.C. Reps. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), Allison Dahle (D-Wake), David Willis (R-Union) and Zack Hawkins (D-Durham).
Restaurants and bars will have to purchase a $100 permit to be able to sell drinks at a discount. This includes selling a person two or more drinks for a single price and would also allow businesses to offer food and an alcoholic beverage at one set price.
This permit will also allow bars or restaurants to advertise their beverage prices on signs outside the premises and in newspapers, television, radio and other forms of mass media.
The bill passed its first reading on Feb. 14. Before being voted on in the N.C. House, H.B. 94 will have to pass three committees, including the Committee on Alcoholic Beverage Control and the rules committee.
Hawkins said he believes the bill will pass in the N.C. House.
"The world has changed tremendously since 1985," Hawkins said. "And I think the opportunity to allow for community building and allow for economic opportunity is going to be a really good thing."
Hawkins said laws outlawing happy hour need to be repealed and that H.B. 94 will generate revenue for small businesses like restaurants and bars.