Governor Signs Senator Cortese’s Motion Picture Safety Bill Prompted by ‘Rust’ Film Tragedy

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed Senate Bill (SB) 132, a budget bill that incorporated legislation by Senator Dave Cortese establishing historic worker safety standards on motion picture productions. The bipartisan legislation reflects two years of negotiations between studios and labor representatives following the 2021 death of a cinematographer on the ‘Rust’ film set. The safety standard applies to film, television, streaming production, and other related content production.

“This law is the result of a remarkable collaboration between top Hollywood’s top film studios and unions. In this case, labor and management immediately answered our call after a cinematographer was killed on a California production,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “This legislation establishes the nation’s finest motion picture safety standards, creates new career pathways for unrepresented Californians, and builds the state economy by incentivizing motion picture productions to stay in California. This is the power of collective action.”

“With Governor Newsom’s signing the landmark Safety on Productions Pilot Program legislation into law today, the IATSE thanks Senator Dave Cortese, who authored this legislation, and worked with us for two years to make it a reality,” said Mike Miller, 4th International Vice President/Department Director, Motion Picture & Television Production, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE). “California has again asserted its leadership role in workplace safety and our members, along with other union members, working on productions that receive the California Film and Television Tax Credit 4.0, will be the beneficiaries of that foresight.”

The law signed Monday protects workers on film and television productions by establishing clear, mandatory guidelines around the use of firearms and ammunition on sets. The law creates minimum training standards for individuals responsible for overseeing firearms, and ensures compliance with enforcement standards.

Additionally, the law creates a five-year Safety on Productions Pilot Program that mandates any motion picture that receives a tax credit under the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, beginning in 2025, to hire an independent Safety Advisor for productions, starting with pre-production and construction.

“The California Film and Television Tax Credit program has led to the creation of hundreds of thousands of high paying union jobs, it’s supported countless local businesses, and pumped billions of dollars into the state’s economy,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association. “The 4.0 version of the program, signed into law today by Governor Newsom, will build on that success by creating new commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion and establishing a pilot program on production safety, among other provisions. I want to thank Governor Newsom for his unwavering leadership on behalf of California’s creative community, as well as the many champions in the legislature for passing this important extension and enhancement to the production incentive program.”