Federal Issues

The Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) Department of SAG-AFTRA is actively engaged in the support or opposition of legislative and policy matters that impact our membership, including the following:

Digital Theft - SAG-AFTRA continues to engage and educate Congress, the administration, the media industry and the public on the best ways to combat digital theft.

WIPO Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances - SAG-AFTRA is working with the administration and Congress to effect the ratification of the Beijing Audiovisual Treaty. For more information on the treaty, visit: http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/beijing/

Public Performance Royalties & pre-1972 Sound Recordings - SAG-AFTRA continues to fight to ensure recording artists and performers are fairly compensated for the public performances of their work on terrestrial, satellite and Internet radio. For information on current legislation we strongly support, please visit the following websites: http://musicfirstcoalition.org/ and http://www.soundexchange.com/

Copyright Act - As Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office undergo a thorough review of all aspects of the Copyright Act in 2014, SAG-AFTRA is playing a vital role in shaping the discussions and advocating for the interests of SAG-AFTRA’s membership.

Federal Film Tax Incentive (Section 181) – In a coordinated effort with DGA, IFTA, MPAA and others, SAG-AFTRA will seek to extend this incentive for film production in the United States.

GAPP News & Highlights – On September 10, SAG-AFTRA participated in Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie & TV Magic Day on Capitol Hill, alongside the MPAA and the congressional Creative Rights Caucus. SAG-AFTRA worked closely with caucus co-chairs Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Howard Coble and the MPAA to plan and execute this first-ever event for legislators and staff. SAG-AFTRA brought Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte to meet attendees and to join Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray from Dallas on an actors panel. That panel and fourteen exhibit booths offered a behind-the-scenes look at the creativity, talent and innovation that drive the American film and television industry. Over 400 people attended the event, including approximately 40 members of Congress. 

SAG-AFTRA Member RJ Mitte, SAG-AFTRA Associate Director Of Legislative Advocacy Kerri Wood Einertson, Associate Director of Government Affairs Todd Flournoy, and SAG-AFTRA Chief Communications & Marketing Officer Pamela Greenwalt stop by the House Judiciary Committee prior to the event.

SAG-AFTRA Member RJ Mitte and Former Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, visit with cast and crew in an exhibit booth at the event.

Support the Federal Shield Law and Contact Your Representatives

Thousands of SAG-AFTRA members are working journalists and they need to know that they will not be compelled to reveal the confidential sources they depend on to cover important news stories. Without a federal shield law, reporters face dire penalties, including imprisonment and/or severe fines, for upholding their professional code of ethics to report news in the public interest. Federal legislation is critical to preserving a free and open press. This is not just a critical issue for journalists, but for all of us who need to receive accurate information in order to make informed decisions.

Although 49 states and the District of Columbia recognize some form of a reporter’s privilege, no such recognition exists on the federal level. The Free Flow of Information Act was first introduced in 2006 — and has been reintroduced every session to date — to establish a federal shield law providing significant protections to journalists. SAG-AFTRA continues to support this legislation and we need your help.

This year, the Senate Bill number is S. 987, and it is expected to come before the Senate this summer. On behalf of our thousands of SAG-AFTRA member journalists, we ask that you urge your senator to support it.

Without these protections in place, the result is a chilling effect on journalists who fear federal prosecution or being subpoenaed. A federal shield law is necessary not only to safeguard journalists, but also to encourage people to come forward and speak out. 

Representatives need to know they should vote for S.987.

PLEASE HELP BY CALLING THESE SENATORS TODAY! Ask them to schedule a vote for S.987 as soon as possible, and PASS IT!

Click here to find your representative’s number.

SAG-AFTRA is a union that has among its members a diverse group of performers, broadcasters and newscasters. This call to action should not be interpreted as a personal statement of opinion by or of any specific member of the union.