An amendment to a bill that would extend California’s $330 million-a-year film incentives program would for the first time require applicants to submit a written policy against sexual harassment. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, it would be the first time an anti-sexual harassment policy has been included in any state-sponsored film incentives program.
AB 1734 (read it here), which recently passed two Assembly committees and now is on its way to the Appropriations Committee, requires applicants to specify in writing a procedure for reporting and investigating harassment claims, a phone number that victims can call to report harassment claims and a statement that the company will not retaliate against anyone for reporting harassment. The bill also requires applicants to “indicate how the policy will be distributed to employees and include a summary of education training resources, including the prohibition against, and prevention and correction of, sexual harassment and remedies available.”
The bill, which would extend the current program to 2025, would not increase the $330 million that’s available to qualified films and TV shows each year but expand the scope of productions that are eligible. According to its sponsors, it also “updates program requirements to ensure wider program applicability to keep pace with the changing industry landscape. The structural changes to the program proposed by the bill will also allow the program to compete with similar programs in other states and countries.”
The bill was authored jointly by Assembly members Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego). “California’s film industry is a hallmark of our great state and an economic powerhouse that generates billions of dollars in wages and direct spending every year,” Bloom said. “AB 1734 will fortify this great industry and protect and expand tens of thousands of middle class jobs.”