Yay! People in Illinois can now drink alcohol!

More accurately: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill Wednesday that allows people in his state to drink at cheaper prices during pre-set times that coincide with them getting off work (which, when you think about it, is a pretty great time to imbibe).

Until Wednesday, Illinois was one of 12 states banning happy hour. That's right, it was banned -- or, at least, offering drink specials for a specific number of hours was.

Now everyone in the state pretty much looks like this:

Just kidding. But it's a good excuse to get into a brief history of the state's love-hate relationship with happy hour. Because wine.

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Why was it illegal in the first place?

In 1989, lawmakers concerned about drunken driving banned happy hour.

They were following the lead of DuPage County, which saw banning happy hour as the best solution to cut down on binge drinking and drunken driving.

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The Chicago Tribune reports alcohol-related fatal crashes were 49.6 percent of all fatal crashes in the state in 1988, the year before the ban went into effect. In 2012, that number was at 41 percent.

The ban's rules weren't clear cut, though. While happy hour wasn't allowed, happy days were OK. A bar could offer half-price bottles of wine on Tuesday, but those specials had to be all day. And you technically were not supposed to offer a drink special with a meal, though a lot of higher-end restaurants did anyways, Peter Frost of Crain's Chicago Business reports. Frost also says house-infused spirits were illegal, but many mixologists ignored that, too.

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The theory was that people wouldn't binge-drink if the specials didn't have a cut-off time.

What does the law say now?

Now, drink specials can last for up to four hours a day, or 15 hours a week, and businesses can offer drink deals with food.

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But there are still a few limits. Bars and restaurants can't offer two-for-one or all-you-can-drink specials (drats) or start a happy hour after 10 p.m. You can't offer drinks as prizes for trivia or games. But you can sell a shot with a beer (because tall-boy PBR & Jim Bean combos are always a good idea). And anyone who serves alcohol in an official capacity must undergo mandatory training.

There's a lot of nuance to the new law, so the Illinois' Liquor Control Commission has a pamphlet ready.

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Who's for reinstating happy hour? 

Most people in the state, it seems.

The law's shepherd, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D), successfully argued the happy hour ban was hurting Chicago's economy, which increasingly relies on food tourism.

"This is an effort to recognize the fact that Illinois has become a culinary destination," she told Crain's. "From heads in beds to butts in seats, food is really driving tourism in Illinois."

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The Illinois Restaurant Association supported the law as well, and it passed by wide margins in the Democratic-controlled state legislature -- 52-1 in the state Senate and 82-31 in the House.

Who's against it?

One plus from the happy-hour ban: Fees for violating it. Chicago blog DNAinfo found the city collected $139,000 in such fees on just two nights in 2014: New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day.

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And at least one business owner told Chicago Eater, The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune he was concerned about unruly younger customers who wouldn't be able to handle the drink specials.

"It's not a business thing, it's a moral thing," pizzeria owner Bill Jacobs said.

Plus, as Chicago Eater notes, the Centers for Disease Control estimates excessive drinking cost Illinois $9.3 billion in 2006 for losses in workplace productivity, health-care expenses, car crashes, property damage and criminal justice expenses.

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That's way above the national median of $2.9 billion, though Illinois is a big state, and it falls in about the middle, according to the same data, when you measure its $728 cost per capita thanks to booze.

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What do other states do?

Illinois wasn't the only state opposed to happy hour. In 2014, 32 states had some drink-promotion restrictions in place, and Illinois was one of a dozen states effectively banning it altogether, according to the National Center for State Courts.

The remaining states in which this cruel remnant of Prohibition-era policies remains are: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.

Six states only ban all-you-can-drink specials. (And remember the freak-out in New York City last February when New Yorkers suddenly realized their bottomless brunches were technically prohibited. Business Insider clarified with the state's liquor association, which seemed to have found a loophole allowing brunch specials because they're considered "events." )

So, that's all you need to know about the law. And now, because it is 5 o'clock somewhere, let's all raises our glasses toward Chicago, where happy hour is legal again.

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