HARRISBURGLegislation to reform the states laws regulating children in entertainment is on its way to the governors desk, said Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery), author of the measure, after the House joined the Senate in passing Murts reforms.
This is a major victory for the states children, Murt said. The entire General Assembly has stated emphatically that those employed in film and television are indeed working and must have rights and protections.
After an extensive investigation into children in films and television programs shot in Pennsylvania that began in 2009, Murt introduced House Bill 1548 to reform the states antiquated laws to address the changes in the industry.
This legislation was designed to mimic the child labor laws of California, Murt said. I wanted to protect the health and financial wellbeing of child performers, but also wanted to provide reasonable guidelines that film and television producers could follow.
The bill was crafted after meetings with representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America and Paul Petersen, the former child actor whose organization, A Minor Consideration, helps legislatures write their labor laws to protect child performers.
While film and TV production has nearly doubled over the last decade, the states child labor laws regulating entertainment were written years before color television, HBO and reality TV.
Murts investigation into child labor in reality TV revealed that the state laws regulating entertainment were so antiquated that children under 7 could not legally appear on a television series filmed in the state.
House Bill 1548 allows children on television, but limits the hours a child can work. The bill also makes sure a studio teacher is on set so a child actors education is provided for.
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 childs gross earnings. Its the only way to make sure a portion of the childs earnings are there for them when they reach adulthood, Murt said.
The bill also defines the term "reality program" to make sure the children who appear on reality TV have the same protections as the children on a movie set.
By updating the states child labor laws, I believe we will encourage more TV and film production, Murt said. We have created the clear legal guidelines the industry asked for and ensured child performers are paid and their health is protected.
State Representative Thomas Murt
152nd District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Rep. Murts Office