Decision Maker Response

Dave Cortese’s response

Nov 8, 2021 — Dear Friends,

Thank you for being an advocate for worker safety and gun violence prevention.

As a California State Senator and as Chair of our Senate Labor Committee, my job is to review and introduce policies to protect workers and do what’s best for them.

So, like all of you, the heartbreaking death of Ms. Halyna Hutchins served to strengthen my resolve in taking steps to address the issues that caused this tragedy and prevent something like this from occurring ever again.

That is why, on October 23rd, 2021, I announced that I will be introducing a bill that would ban live ammunition and firearms that are capable of firing live ammunition from movie sets and theatrical productions in California:

We must do everything we can to prevent this type of senseless violence and loss of life by giving our crew members and craftspeople the adequate protections they need to feel safe on the job. Those working behind the scenes to entertain and bring joy to millions all over the world shouldn’t go to set worrying if they will return home safely to their family. Our entertainment industry can and must do a better job of ensuring safe working conditions for our hardworking crews.

The fact of the matter is this tragedy wasn’t a matter of chance. There was a clear pattern of mistakes that occurred on set and created an environment of poor firearm safety.

And while this bill will only affect theatrical productions in California, I know that this legislation will serve as a model for other states to follow so that we can have new safety standards and best practices for all those who work in the industry.

In an age when computer generation and digitally created imagery are commonplace in entertainment, the need for live firearms has become obsolete. We have made strides in the 21st century tools that are available to us that allow for seamless visual realism.

Movie sets should not be unnecessarily high-risk areas where conditions are unsafe and where live firearms are being used. And our entertainment industry cannot remain vibrant unless people’s rights at work are upheld, and until we have adequately addressed these issues that have been brought into the forefront.

My bill takes into consideration the safety and well-being of entertainment workers and create standards, remedies, enforcement mechanisms, and penalties codified in law, so that no one can get around skirting these rules.

I know that enforcement of this law will only be effective when workers are empowered to play an active role; that is why this bill will include provisions to ensure that workers feel protected and heard when they speak out about their rights are being violated, and the language of this bill will only be finished once workers and their representatives have given their input on what is needed to keep them safe on set.

We need leaders at every level of government who will advocate for and pass laws that prioritize workers and their safety, including our behind-the-scenes entertainment workers.

Thank you once again to each and every one of you for your advocacy in this regard and I look forward to working alongside you to create lasting change.

To stay informed on the progress of this bill in the California State Legislature as well as ways for you to support its passage, please consider signing up at this link for updates that my office will be regularly providing:

Thank you,
Senator Dave Cortese
California State Senate, District 15