Murt Honored by SAG-AFTRA for Reforming Child Labor Laws
Rep. Tom Murt, center, is honored by Philadelphia Local SAG-AFTRA Co-Presidents Catherine Brown and John Wooten.

HARRISBURG-- Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) has been honored with a Friend of SAG-AFTRA award acknowledging his work reforming the child labor laws pertaining to child actors in Pennsylvania.

“I want to thank the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for this special honor,” Murt said.  “But I cannot accept it without recognizing their support during the long process of updating the state’s antiquated labor laws pertaining to child actors.  We could not have succeeded without the union’s support.”

In 2009, Murt hosted a House Policy Committee hearing on the “Kate Plus Eight” Reality TV show, then filming in Pennsylvania.  Murt wanted to discover how the children on the show were being cared for and what state laws protected their physical, psychological and financial well-being.

“We discovered that Pennsylvania’s laws overseeing child actors had not been updated since the early 1950s,” Murt said.

To correct this, Murt, in 2012, introduced House Bill 1548, which passed both the House and Senate and was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett as Act 151 of 2012.

“This legislation was designed to mimic the child labor laws of California,” Murt said. “I wanted to protect the health and financial well-being of child performers, but also wanted to provide reasonable guidelines that film and television producers could follow.”

Under the reforms in House Bill 1548, children under 16 on a film set must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. They can work no more than eight hours a day or 48 hours per week, and minors must finish work by 10 p.m. on school nights.

The bill also requires that trust accounts be established for minor actors, in which the employer must deposit 15 percent of the child’s gross earnings. “It’s the only way to make sure a portion of the child’s earnings are there for them when they reach adulthood,” Murt said.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207 /
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