Ready to get happy, SouthCoast? "Happy hour," outlawed in Massachusetts under the administration of former Democrat Governor Mike Dukakis in 1984, could make a comeback.

Boston.com reports State Rep. Mike Connelly is promoting legislation to allow for the return of happy hour. However, a lobbying group is testing the waters to see if there is any public interest in the idea, and to no one's surprise, there is. A MassINC poll indicates 70 percent support for the resumption of happy hour in the Bay State.

Happy hour is a popular gimmick used in other states to drive business to bars. They are often in the late afternoon as the office crowd is heading home, and in tourist states like Florida, where folks are known to toss back a cocktail or two between the beach and dinner. They usually feature drink specials such as two-for-ones or reduced-price drinks.

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The Massachusetts Legislature banned happy hour after a 20-year-old woman died in a Braintree drunk driving accident. Lawmakers also agreed to raise the Commonwealth's drinking age from 20 to 21 years old.

The State House News Service reports 38 percent of poll responders strongly favor the return of happy hour while 32 percent somewhat favor the idea and 20 percent are opposed. What do you think?

Bars and restaurants got clobbered during the pandemic. The resumption of happy hour after a 37-year absence would help some to recover. It would be good for business and would give the people what they want. After a year of government dictating what people can and cannot do, it's time to remove the boot from their throats and help businesses, too.

Adults who are old enough to drink can make informed decisions for themselves without instructions from Beacon Hill. If no one has already, someone needs to file legislation to allow happy hour to return to Massachusetts again.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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