Grange, Lee companion bills seek $55 million for Film & Entertainment Grant Fund

Grange, Lee companion bills seek $55 million for Film & Entertainment Grant Fund

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County legislators Michael Lee and Holly Grange have filed companion bills looking to increase the amount put into the state's Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, which is used to lure television, movie and commercial productions to North Carolina.

The bills would increase the Film and Entertainment Grant funding from the current $30 million per year to $55 million.  Sen. Lee said earlier this month that working to get recurring money for the grant would be one of his top priorities in the upcoming budget, which will come out of the state Senate later in this session.

"It raises the amount to $55 million, and will be recurring," Rep. Grange said about the proposals in the companion bills. "That means it will automatically stay in the budget unless it is taken out in future years. That will be better for long-term projects filming in the state, such as TV series."

Sen. Lee filed Senate Bill 358 on March 22. The next day leadership sent the bill to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, which currently has nearly 300 bills and no firm meeting schedule. Rep. Grange's House Bill 473 was filed March 23, and on Monday leaders sent the bill to the Committee on Appropriations, which meets every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Rep. Grange and another Republican, Rep. Andy Dulin of Mecklenberg County, are the primary sponsors of HB 473. Two Democrats,  Rep. Larry Bell of Sampson County and Rep. Michael Wray of Northampton County, have signed on as co-sponsors. Sen. Lee and Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) are primary sponsors of SB 358.

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