California Lawmaker Rips “Ruthless Industry” After His ‘Rust’-Inspired Set-Safety Bill Stalls

California Capitol building in Sacramento AP Photo

UPDATED, with MPA comment: A California state senator ripped the entertainment industry today after the bill he co-authored in response to last year’s fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust set failed to get out of committee.

“It’s a powerful and ruthless industry,” Sen. Dave Cortese, a Silicon Valley Democrat, said in a statement. “First the industry killed Halyna. Then they killed the bill that would’ve made people like her safe.”


Cortese co-sponsored Senate Bill 381, which sought to protect film and TV workers through a regulatory process to establish clear, mandatory guidelines around the use of firearms and ammunition on sets. The bill, the first of its kind in the U.S., also included a limited ban on ammunition on sets and enactment of safety regulations and establishment of penalties for violations to ensure compliance.

The bill, which was introduced in Sacramento early this year and amended last month (read it here), failed to clear the California Senate Appropriations Committee today.

“Despite setbacks, I’m committed to real reforms that will protect our workers,” Cortese said.

Hutchins died after she was struck by a bullet fired by Alec Baldwin from what was supposed to be a “cold gun” on the Rust set at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. He was practicing a “quick draw” move during rehearsal and pulled the trigger, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Local police and state officials are investigating the case, which has spurred multiple lawsuits.

A spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association said, “We remain committed to working with the California legislature, as well as our union and guild partners, to enhance firearm safety on motion picture sets by building upon our already robust industry-wide protocols.”

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