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Reaction mixed about New Bern's failed brunch bill ordinance

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NEW BERN, Craven County - As of now, New Bern will not join the list of other towns and cities approving alcohol sales before noon on Sundays.

The "brunch bill" was recently passed by the state and signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. But each town and city has to approve its own ordinance. Tuesday, Morehead City joined a list of other towns and cities in the state to approve its version of a "brunch bill." But New Bern officials failed to take a vote. Alderman Jeff Odham put forth a motion to approve New Bern's ordinance but it failed to get a second motion. "It's another invasion on a Sunday, which is a religious day for a lot of people," said Bernard White, alderman of the Fifth Ward. Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle also have adopted the "brunch bill," which allows municipalities and counties the option to permit the sale of alcohol beginning at 10 in the morning on Sundays. "I'm not going to be one of those that will be partaking in it but I also don't think it's my position as an elected official to tell an adult when he can drink," said Odham, who serves Ward 6. White is strongly against the bill. He feels if it's approved, people will just keep requesting the time to be even earlier. He said you can already buy alcohol seven days a week and doesn't understand the big deal of having to wait until noon on one of those days. Buddy Bengel of Baker's Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery was one of several businessmen disappointed by Tuesday's results. "It passed both the (NC) House and Senate our Democratic governor signed off on it and it went to law," Bengel said. "I think it's an absolute embarrassment that our mayor and aldermen didn't approve it." City officials said even though they failed to vote on the bill, it doesn't mean it won't pass in the future. Some have urged those who support the "brunch bill" to contact New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw and the aldermen so it can be put back on the agenda for another possible vote.

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