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Legislators pass bills allowing happy hour advertising

(AP) Restaurants in Virginia would have greater freedom to advertise happy hour drink specials under legislation that passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

The House of Delegates and Senate each passed bills Jan. 23 that would allow Virginia restaurants to advertise the prices of happy hour drinks and use terms like “Thirsty Thursday” to promote their happy hours. Bars in Virginia are currently barred from doing so under state regulations designed to prevent excessive alcohol consumption.

Those rules are currently the subject of a federal lawsuit challenging the restrictions as an unconstitutional free-speech restriction.

Geoff Tracy, owner of Chef Geoff’s in Vienna, filed the lawsuit with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation. The foundation welcomed the legislation but still hopes for a favorable court ruling to establish a legal precedent.

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