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Legislators lay over second reading of bill to extend bar hours in Colorado

DENVER -- Driving under the influence enforcement continues across the state with St. Patrick's Day weekend approaching.

On Thursday morning, Colorado state lawmakers took up a bill aimed at extending the hours bars can serve alcohol.

The State Senate held a hearing on the measure, which is being backed by the Colorado Bar Owners Association but is opposed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The second reading of the bill was laid over to March 24.

Closing time is 2 a.m. in Colorado.But the measure being proposed would allow each city and town to decide its own closing time.

Backers say it's a good idea because it could take some pressure off law enforcement.

They believe the 2 a.m. closing time in place sends too many intoxicated drivers onto the roadways at the same time, putting added strain on police and DUI patrols.

But Mothers Against Drunk Driving says giving people more time to drink will add to the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths that continues to climb in the state.

Last year, 605 people were killed on Colorado roads, with almost 200 of them involving drugs or alcohol.

A similar measure to extend hours failed in 2014.