Film crew safety bill awaits California governor’s signature


Photo: LeoPatrizi/iStockphoto

Sacramento, CA — Legislation recently passed by the California Senate and Assembly would provide stronger protections for workers on film sets where firearms and ammunition are used.

S.B. 132, which at press time was on the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), includes language from a previous bill (S.B. 735) introduced by Sens. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) and Anthony Portantino (D-Glendale). S.B. 132 would prohibit the use of live ammunition on sets – except in limited situations and subject to safety laws and rules – and establish safety standards and training requirements for prop masters and armorers on the job.

The bill was spurred by the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie “Rust” in October 2021. It passed in the Senate with a 33-4 vote on May 24 and in the Assembly, 70-5, on June 27.

The bill would establish the Safety on Productions Pilot Program, which would go into effect on July 1, 2025, and sunset on June 30, 2030. The program directs employers for a motion picture production who receive a state tax credit to hire or assign a qualified safety advisor to conduct a safety assessment. That person would be required to be present on every production.

The advisor also would conduct and participate in daily safety meetings and prepare a final safety evaluation report based on the set’s risk and compliance experience.

Additionally, on each set, a qualified property master, armorer and assistant property master handling a firearm during production must have a specified state permit, completed firearms training, and a specified federal document for possessing and having custody of a firearm.

The bill would allow exemptions for specified registered security guards and peace officers on the perimeter of the set.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, would have the authority to investigate, inspect and cite employers.

“This agreement establishes best practices statewide that were already in use among Hollywood’s top studios,” Cortese said in a press release. “Conversations about this legislation started the week after the tragic loss of a cinematographer. Those negotiations have produced the nation’s first and best safety practices for California workers in the state’s vital motion picture industry.”

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