Movies delay NC smoking ban

April 22, 2009 3:14:33 PM PDT
The North Carolina Senate was set to take up a bill that would ban smoking in many businesses and restaurants Wednesday, but did an about face after hearing the concerns of a movie industry lobbyist.Committee chairman Sen. Bill Purcell of Scotland County removed the issue from the Senate Health Care Committee agenda.

He said the movie industry is concerned that the way the proposed law is written, it would prevent actors from smoking while filming indoor scenes.

Purcell said he will give the industry time to suggest an amendment that would create an exception for films. The issue will come back before the committee next week.

North Carolina has a large film industry and well known movies like Bull Durham have been shot in the Triangle. The movie Main Street is currently filming in Durham.

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The Senate is also considering whether to restore tougher restrictions on smoking that were deleted when the bill passed the House. A provision to bar smoking in businesses that employ or serve anyone under age 18 likely would be broadened.

The bill's chief sponsor - Rep. Hugh Holliman of Davidson County - isn't taking a stand on a moviemaking exemption yet.


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