~ ACTION ALERT ~
Ask Governor Cuomo to VETO Labor Bill that Hurts Child Performers
Lawmakers & Labor Disrespect Child Performers ~ Yet Again
If You Believe Child Performers Are Legitimate Members of New York's Workforce ~
Please Make YOUR Voice Heard Today!
New York State Assembly Bill (A7630-2011) is on its way to Governor Cuomo's Office to be signed into law extending child performer work permits from the required six month permit to a one year permit and, in so doing, removes the only two protections child performers are afforded under current law ~ academic and financial well-being. The NYS Department of Labor (Labor) circumvented its own regulation process as it had every opportunity to raise their desire to increase the permit time table through their proposed regulations and failed to do so.
We respectfully request, we implore, we demand, WE BEG the New York State Department of Labor, New York Senators and Assemblyman and Assemblywomen, and Governor Cuomo to thoughtfully reach out to child performers when considering changes that would directly impact 6,000 members of their workforce. Lawmakers, including the Administrative Regulatory Review Commission, have asked that Labor participate in Negotiated Rulemaking and Labor has continued to thumb their nose at the Entertainment Industry, their own workforce and NY governing bodies. Labor would never exclude police officers in a law or regulation that would impact law enforcement.
Three BIG Problems:
1. It removes the only two protections child performers are afforded under current law ~ academic and financial well-being. The affect of the six month provision is to DETER unscrupulous parents and agents from jeopardizing a child's academic and financial well-being. Without these protections, child performers could be truant or failing and/or working without a trust fund account for 364 days undetected by the Department of Labor, whose mission is to protect its workforce. If Labor's response is "well, we really don't check the validity of academic reports and trust fund accounts anyway," then our response is "why regulate child performers at all?"
2. This legislation signals that the Department of Labor is committed to proceeding forward with their proposed reckless regulations including the most abhorrent provision ~ the mental and physical health certificate requirement. This new law will reduce, but not eliminate, the "burdensome argument" to the certificate requirement but will not negate the most vigorous arguments ~ no credible evidence as to need, disturbance in the doctor patient relationship with children failing to disclose a concern for fear of state reporting or loss of permit, the lack of privacy protections, the outrageously invasive questioning, the ability of physicians to "pull" a child's permit without due process, doctor shopping, and deterrence for well known talent to subject themselves to public humiliation ~ paparazzi disclosing menstrual cycle, thoughts of suicide, etc.
3. Once again, governmental officials have failed to reach out and include Child Performers ~ Did child performers or their parents request this change? Evidentially, the Department of Labor thinks so but neither Child Performers Coalition nor BizParentz Foundation requested this change and we have no knowledge of any other organization or individuals requesting this legislation.
Is the Labor Being Disingenuous ~ AGAIN?
The Department of Labor, through Assembly Labor Chair Wright, in the Statement of Support writes:
"This legislation sets forth a new provision that would relieve the
parents or guardians of child performers of the obligation to secure a
new employment permit for their children every six months. This change
effectively would reduce the burden on parents and guardians to permit
employers to retain services of child performers on a more continuous
basis without fear that permits will expire mid-employment, and reduce
the administrative burden upon the Department to process these permits."
Cost NOT a Factor!
Labor, again through Assemblyman Wright, denies any cost savings to Labor and writes in the "Budget Implications" report: "The extension of the period during which a child performer employment permit is effective is not anticipated to have a fiscal impact on the Department." All these statements, taken together read ~ yes, we manage paper and this is a burden but please don't cut our budget if you pass this bill. We still want our jobs, we just want to work less.
Our solution to any perceived cost and time savings that may be afforded by the yearly permit is to allow for on-line permit renewals with supporting documents simply uploaded and stored virtually and to REMOVE the Mental and Physical Health Certificate requirement currently proposed.
Bill Wasn't Going Anywhere
In March, we were made aware that the NYS Department of Labor requested the NYS Senate Labor Committee to draft a bill (S3965-2011) extending the six month permit and to a one year permit. After conversations with Senator Robach's Office, Labor Committee Chair, it was our understanding that this bill would not be moving forward for a number of reasons. In mid-May, a new bill went forward in the Assembly and, once again, we were not apprised nor were we consulted for input even though we had had contact with multiple lawmakers including co-sponsor of the bill Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, and Senators Carlucci, Robach, Young who all voted in support of this bill.
So few "players" knew of the existence of this bill that even Labor Counsel, Jeffery Shapiro had no knowledge of the bill or its passage. Those that knew of its existence continued to believe it "wasn't going anywhere" and were surprised at its passage.
We believe that the Labor leadership is using the New York Legislature to cure a problem created by their failure to recognize that permits are issued twice a year and not once a year ~ setting in motion the bi-annual Mental and Physical Health Certificate requirement that is part of their proposed regulations. Mandating yearly permits would solve the public relations problem ~ cost and burden of the outrageously intrusive physicals ~ and allow for wider acceptance. Yet, the most disturbing aspects of this draconian measure would still be in place.
Stop Throwing Kids Under the Bus
It cannot be said enough ~ We respectfully request, we implore, we demand, WE BEG the New York State Department of Labor, New York Senators and Assemblyman and Assemblywomen, and Governor Cuomo thoughtfully reach out to child performers, early and often, when considering changes that would directly impact 6,000 members of their workforce and . . . about 500 production companies.
Huge Thanks! Huge, huge thanks goes to Janet Palazzoto, dedicated and long-standing child performer advocate, who alerted us to action on this bill.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like more information, we would love to hear from you. Please check out our website at www.childperformerscoalition.org ~ it has lots of information and a link to our petition. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for all your support!