A bill that seeks to roll back the current ban on outdoor smoking in North Carolina cities, beaches and community college campuses passed a critical Senate committee vote yesterday.
Senate Bill 703 includes language that would prevent local governments and community colleges from enacting smoking regulations that are more restrictive than state law. Currently, North Carolina state law does not restrict outdoor smoking.
Specifically, the bill states that "A local government may adopt and enforce ordinances, board of health rules, and 18 policies restricting or prohibiting smoking on local government grounds as long as the 19 ordinances, rules, or policies are not more restrictive than State law."
The bill was introduced by three Republican, Sens. E. S. Newton, Brent Jackson and Andrew C. Brock.
During deliberations on the bill, some members of the Senate Agriculture Committee expressed concern with the fact that community colleges were included. As of now, 33 of the state's 58 community colleges have adopted campus-wide smoking bans.
The measure is scheduled to go to the Senate State and Local Government Committee, and could wind up on the Senate floor sometime later this week.