State Issues

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The Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) Department of SAG-AFTRA is actively engaged in the support or opposition of legislative and policy matters at the state and local level around the country. Including the following:

State Production Incentives – SAG-AFTRA continues to support state-by-state efforts to incentivize production through tax incentives and tax rebates.

Child Performer Protections – SAG-AFTRA continues to promote and support legislation protecting child performers around the country.

Broadcast Non-Compete – SAG-AFTRA continues to support the elimination of broadcaster non-compete provisions.

Right of Publicity – SAG-AFTRA, with a broad coalition of players’ unions and others, continues to support strong right-of-publicity legislation around the country.

“Right to Work” – SAG-AFTRA, alongside the AFL-CIO, continues to strongly oppose so-called “right-to-work” legislation around the country.


GAPP News & Highlights


JUDGE GRANTS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION OF CALIFORNIA’S AB 1687 

SAG-AFTRA Intervenes as a Defendant  

Age discrimination is a major problem in our industry, and SAG-AFTRA has been working hard for years to stop the career damage caused by the publication of performers’ dates of birth on online websites used for casting, such as IMDb. SAG-AFTRA and its members successfully advocated for the enactment of California’s AB 1687, a law requiring subscription-based entertainment casting databases such as IMDb Pro to remove subscribers’ birthdate and age information on their profile pages upon request. 

Thanks to tireless advocacy and support from our members, AB 1687 passed through both houses of the California Legislature by overwhelming majorities. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation in September 2016 and the law took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

On February 22, 2017, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction of AB 1687. We are disappointed that the court has chosen to temporarily halt the State of California’s legal efforts to fully protect its citizens from employment discrimination. We look forward to the upcoming opportunity to present evidence to the Court of how this law will reduce or eliminate the age discrimination facilitated by IMDb.com.

This is an early skirmish in what will be a long-term battle to ensure that entertainment industry workers are granted the same minimum employment protections as all other workers. SAG-AFTRA will continue to fight until we achieve for actors and other entertainment industry professionals, the same rights to freedom from age discrimination in hiring enjoyed by other workers in other industries.


Court Affirms California’s Talent Agencies Act

Law Regulates Agents and Managers, Protects Artists 

In a win for members, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed last week the constitutionality of the Talent Agencies Act, which was created to protect performers by regulating talent agents.

The law, which regulates the business and act of procuring employment of artists, including actors, in the entertainment industry, has been the subject of numerous challenges, the most recent lodged by the National Conference of Professional Managers (NCOPM) in 2015. The NCOPM claimed the law was unconstitutional and should not apply to managers who procure employment for their clients. Their arguments included claims that the law was vague and impacted their First Amendment rights. In its ruling, the court soundly rejected all of the NCOPM’s claims.

“I am pleased by the court’s decision. Although the majority of the management community cares about their clients’ best interests, there are some who do not. This law protects our members in their search for employment and sends a strong message that regulation of talent agents and managers matters more than ever,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.

“The Talent Agencies Act is an important law that protects our members, and the union is gratified that the Court understands the critical role it plays and resisted attempts to undermine it,” SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

In a friend-of-the-court brief SAG-AFTRA submitted in support of the law, the union argued for the importance of the act in protecting our members. “The Talent Agencies Act and the unions’ franchise systems are critical to protecting vulnerable individuals in an environment where aspirants quite literally will do almost anything to ‘make it big.’ These protections help to balance the power between artists and their representatives.”


CALIFORNIA’S AB 1687 BECOMES LAW

IMDb Refuses to Comply, SAG AFTRA Files Motion to Intervene 

Age discrimination is a major problem in our industry, and SAG-AFTRA has been working hard for years to stop the career damage caused by the publication of performers’ dates of birth on online websites used for casting, such as IMDb. 

SAG-AFTRA and its members successfully advocated for the enactment of California’s AB 1687, a law requiring subscription-based entertainment casting databases such as IMDb Pro to remove subscribers’ birthdate and age information on their profile pages upon request. Thanks to tireless advocacy and support from our members, AB 1687 passed through both houses of the California Legislature by overwhelming majorities. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation in September 2016 and the law took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

IMDb has refused to comply with the law and has instead filed a lawsuit against the state of California in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. On Jan. 9, SAG-AFTRA filed a motion to intervene in the case by becoming a defendant.

SAG-AFTRA is disappointed that IMDb refuses to comply with California’s anti-age discrimination law and the protections it provides to vulnerable performers in the entertainment industry. The law is narrowly tailored to fix a clearly defined problem by simply granting performer subscribers to paid websites an option to remove their age information.


SAG-AFTRA sponsored New Mexico Film & Media Day again this year on February 8th at the state capitol in Santa Fe.  

SAG-AFTRA member and keynote speaker Patrick Fabian addressed dozens of supporters inside the capitol about the importance of production incentives, and defeating "Right-to-Work" legislation. Patrick focused on the importance of keeping union jobs in the state and combating "right to work for less" legislation.  He got a standing ovation.  

The day also included a radio interview with KIOT 102.5, and breakfast with Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.  SAG-AFTRA had a booth at the event throughout the day where local board members talked with industry colleagues about joining the union.

L-R: Mel MacKaron, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Patrick Fabian, Tom Schuch

L-R: Mel MacKaron, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Patrick Fabian, Tom Schuch

Patrick Fabian represents SAG-AFTRA at New Mexico Film & Media Day 2016

Patrick Fabian represents SAG-AFTRA at New Mexico Film & Media Day 2016

L-R: Marc Comstock, Frances Lee McCain, Patrick Fabian, Mel MacKaron, Diane Villegas, Kerri Wood Einertson, Tom Schuch at the SAG-AFTRA booth inside the state capitol.

L-R: Marc Comstock, Frances Lee McCain, Patrick Fabian, Mel MacKaron, Diane Villegas, Kerri Wood Einertson, Tom Schuch at the SAG-AFTRA booth inside the state capitol.