SAG-AFTRA Washington-Mid Atlantic Local members and staff have been actively involved in various legislative issues before the Maryland General Assembly this session. From supporting an increase in the state film/TV tax credit, to opposing a sunset to those tax credits and so-called “right-to-work” legislation, to monitoring bills introduced on paid family leave and paid bereavement leave benefits, the WMA Local is hard at work to protect the rights and benefits of its members.
On Feb. 4, local members in conjunction with various AFL-CIO affiliates attended a hearing of the House Economic Matters Committee in the Maryland General Assembly. The show of solidarity was to oppose House Bill 163, a recently introduced “right-to work” bill that would allow employees access to the benefits of union representation without having to pay their fair share for the union’s services. This type of legislation not only weakens the strength of unions, but ultimately leads to a reduction in resources and a loss of workers’ benefits across all industries.
Days later, on Feb. 12, SAG-AFTRA members from across Maryland gathered with other entertainment professionals, business owners, and labor leaders in Annapolis to attend the House Ways and Means Committee hearing to discourage the passing of House Bill 565, which would eliminate the Maryland Film Tax Credit Program in the 2023 fiscal year. Our large presence was certainly noticed by the legislators as we packed the hearing room to capacity, and Local President Lance Lewman provided genuine and honest testimony about the importance of the Film Tax Credit Program to his livelihood and his family, as well as the need to protect and encourage film and television work in Maryland into the future.
The local’s work throughout February continued when, on Feb. 19, SAG-AFTRA members with the local film industry community turned out in force to urge the Maryland Senate to support Senate Bill 718. The passing of Senate Bill 718 would increase the annual amount allotted for the film/TV tax credit to $20 million in the 2021 fiscal year, and lead to more work throughout the state.
Your voice is important! Stay tuned for upcoming calls to action.
Photo: From left, Washington–Mid Atlantic Local members Towanda Underdue, Ellie Wang, Maggie Linton and Dovile Mark show their support for SB718.
- Local News