East St. Louis to close bars earlier? - KMOV.com

East St. Louis to close bars earlier?

East St. Louis, Illinois (KMOV.com) -- A public hearing will be held Tuesday in East St. Louis to discuss proposed legislation to close bars and other businesses early to cut down on violence.

The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the East St. Louis City Hall.

City Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks proposed the legislation that calls for businesses to close at 2 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends. This would exclude places like hotels, gas stations and the Casino Queen.

Jackson-Hicks says the police department can’t handle the large crowds that come into the city after 3 a.m. She also says the department has been running on a skeleton crew and is overworked.

Senator Dick Durbin has called for the city to make nightclubs close at 1 a.m. to help with violence.
Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. is against the change because he believes it would cost people their jobs.

According to U.S Attorney Stephen Wigginton, East St. Louis’ murder rate is equivalent to 109 killings for every 100,000 residents. The national average is 5 per 100,000

Parks says the city shouldn’t reduce a business’ opportunity to operate and shouldn’t decide how a business markets itself.

Jackson-Hicks says the hearing tonight is the citizens’ opportunity to share their feelings and make their voice be heard.

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