|Child Performers Invited to Press Conference at New York State Capitol|
This Monday, February 6th, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and the Administrative Regulatory Review Commission (ARRC) will release a report that shines a light on the regulatory process in New York State. Child Performers have been invited to attend.
"The NYS Department of Labor's handling of the Child Performer regulations highlights the demand for greater oversight of state agencies and the need for a more open, participative regulatory process. Under the current system, agencies have the ability to impose sweeping, game changing regulations that, in the case of the Child Performer regs, could have resulted in extremely dangerous working conditions for children and loss of entertainment industry production jobs and revenue for the State of New York." Kelly Crisp, Founder of Child Performers Coalition
Click Here to Enter the Department of Labor Child Performer Site to find the revised regulation language as well as other information that may be of help.
Public Comment Period Ends Monday, Feb. 13th
Please Email Your Comments ASAP
One last push ~ you have a few short days to tell the Department of Labor (Labor) how you feel about the Child Performer Proposed Regulations. The public comment period ends Monday, February 13th. Labor has chosen not to hold a public hearing. It is stunning how much one voice counts, and has counted, in this process. Remember, we will be living with the adopted language for many, many years and it is likely to become a template for other states.
According to Labor's Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, "[a]pproximately 478 employers have current Child Performer Certificates of Eligibility." The number of child performer permits issued in 2011 was 17,290, up from 15,610 in 2010 with the number of permitted children totally about 7,000. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of kids who are permitted and only a handful work on elite, buttoned up productions under individual contracts.
Once the comment period ends, Labor will review the comments and either make additional changes or adopt them as they are now written. Although we are encouraged by the changes, we are concerned that additional changes are needed to keep child performers safe. Our focus is on two provisions: "Responsible Persons" and Health Certificates.
We Don't Care What His Fingerprints Look Like, We Do Care If He Is A Pedophile
Recommendation: Add language prohibiting "Responsible Persons" from being Registered Sex Offenders or persons charged or convicted of a sex offense or felony.
While everyone would agree that a "responsible person" should be someone other than a sex offender or felon, we also understand that criminal background checks of crew members are virtually non-existent. It would seem more than reasonable to amend the "responsible persons" language to include language that prohibits Registered Sex Offenders or persons charged or convicted of a sex offense or felony from working as a "responsible person."
Although the new language provides for a parent to elect to assume the role of "responsible person," we are not confident how the negotiation between parent and production will take place. It is reasonable to assume that production will, in some cases, suggest that a "responsible person" be appointed for legitimate reasons and parents will have no information to divine whether or not that person is a threat.
Does Anyone Trust the Department of Labor with their Child's Medical History?
Recommendation: Please remove the requirement of any and all health certificates. The requirement is redundant and unnecessary as health forms are routinely required by schools who are well versed in maintaining private records. We are very concerned that a child's private medical history will be disclosed either through an unintentional or intentional act by staff or through a paparazzi's legal maneuver.
The Health Certificate Form Hasn't Been Published So We Assume It Can Be Revised Outside Of The Regulatory Process
We are also concerned that the form may be amended at any time, without notice and outside of the regulatory process, to include objectionable questions and requirements. We are confident that Labor has considered the content of the form but has chosen not to publish it. Therefore, the contents will not be known before the regulations are adopted. It stands to reason that the form, and the information it requires, can be changed by Labor without notice to include the original, highly objectionable such as menstrual cycles, Body Mass Index, psychological questions that go to thoughts of suicide, drug addiction, etc.
Regulatory agencies in New York are not accountable to any other body - not the Governor, not lawmakers and certainly not to children. So, today Labor suggests that the form is fairly innocuous and tomorrow it includes all of the recommendations of the Eating Disorder Committee.
We encourage everyone to share their thoughts with the New York State Department of Labor before the February 13th deadline. You can easily email them at Regulations@labor.ny.gov
or mail them to Teresa Stoklosa, NYS Department of Labor, State Office Campus Building 12, Room 509, Albany, NY 12240. We would love to have a copy of your comments, if possible.
It can be something as simple as (cut and paste):
Dear Commissioner Gardner;
I believe the Department of Labor's primary role is to protect its workforce and encourage job growth in New York. Child performers are a legitimate part of the workforce, deserve to work in a safe environment, and contribute to shaping regulations that impact them. Likewise, the entertainment industry is a robust part of the State's economy providing jobs, tax revenue, tourism dollars and contributing to NYC's international cultural identity. The Department of Labor should work hard to attract film, broadcasting and theatrical productions and encourage them to remain in New York.
Last year, over 14,000 permits were issued to child performers, totally about 7,000 children, with almost 500 production companies permitted to work with children. I respectfully ask that the following revisions to 2 NYCRR Part 186 Rules Regarding Child Performers be made:
The "responsible persons" language should be amended to prohibit Registered Sex Offenders, or persons charged or convicted of a sex offense or felony, from working as a "responsible person."
I am grateful that the new language allows a parent to elect to assume the role of "responsible person." However, it is reasonable to believe that productions will suggest that a "responsible person" be appointed for very legitimate reasons. In this event, I will have no information to determine whether or not that crew member is "responsible" or a threat without further legal assurances.
Please remove the requirement of any and all health certificates. The requirement is redundant and unnecessary as health forms are routinely required by schools who are well versed in maintaining private records. I am very concerned that my child's private medical history will be disclosed either through an unintentional or intentional act by staff or through a paparazzi's legal maneuver. I am also concerned that the form may be amended at any time, without notice and outside of the regulatory process, to include objectionable questions and requirements.
I am thankful for the changes that have been made thus far and encourage you to continuing revising the language to provide safe working conditions for our children.
Thank you so much for your support.
Founder, Child Performers Coalition