Passes Senate, Not House
Bill For Ejection
Stalls in Michigan
LANSING, Mich. – Disappointing to NATO of Michigan
and its constituent cinema owners at year’s end was
the failure to pass of state Senate Bill 380, which would
have extended limited immunity to owners and operators
of entertainment venues who ejected unruly patrons from
their premises without using excessive force.
The bill passed the state Senate, but the
Michigan House was unable to pass the bill before the body’s
Dec. 30 year-ending adjournment.
The end of the year did, however, see the
successful launch of NATO of Michigan’s new Website at natoofmi.org.
50 Cents Per Admit
Proposes Tix Tax
BOSTON – Boston mayor Thomas Menino on Dec. 4 proposed
a 50-cent ticket tax that awaits approval from the city
council and Massachusetts legislature.
The tax, which would cover movies, sporting
events, concerts and plays, was expected to generate some
$4 million per
year if passed. Menino proposed the taxes to help offset
an anticipated $50 million cut in state aid to the city.
“As states and localities face growing deficit woes, so
too grows the temptation to tax everything in sight,” noted
NATO president John Fithian. “Despite grave free
speech implications, movie tickets do not appear to be
exempt from this trend – exhibitors must be on the
watch, and when challenged, respond with serious grass-roots
The proposal also conjured alarm and concern
from mayors across Massachusetts as many said the new tax
a “Boston bailout” without much benefit to
smaller cities with fewer public entertainment facilities.
Several mayors held emergency meetings Jan. 15 to come
up with alternatives.
The legislature is slated to consider the
proposals sometime this year.
California’s Democratic legislators are also considering
expanding the state sales tax to cover movies, sporting
events and Internet sales in conjunction with Gov. Grey
Davis’ Jan. 10 budget proposal.
New Municipal Law
NYC To Ban Cell
Phones At Theatres
NEW YORK – The New York City Council on Dec. 18 approved
by a vote of 40-9 a bill that would ban the use of cell
phones at all public performances in the city. Mayor Michael
Bloomberg has stated that he would veto such a bill, but
the council has enough votes to override the veto.
The ban would cover movies, theatrical
performances, lectures, libraries and museums. Part of
the legislation requires
venues to announce the ban prior to the show or post
signage stating the regulations.
Violations of the ban, which covers
talking or listening to a cell phone, or even allowing
a single ring, will
come with a $50 fine. Utilization of a cell phones
emergency would not be punishable.