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June 24, 2003

NY State House and Senate Pass Child Performers Act
Senator Velella and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and young performers

Senator Velella (center) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (to his left) are joined by child performers, (far left) Ray Bradford, AFTRA National Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, (far right) Bob Lydiard, AFTRA New York and National Board member and chair of the AFTRA Young Performers Committee, and representatives of SAG and Actors' Equity Association in announcing the introduction of legislation to establish the New York Child Performers Education and Trust Act of 2003.

SAG, AFTRA and AEA not KID-ding about young performers' rights!

Two weeks after representatives from AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and Actors' Equity Association (AEA) met with New York State legislators, both the House and the Senate in Albany have signed the Child Performers Education and Trust Act of 2003 (A.7510 and S.4696). Pending approval by Governor Pataki, these bills would codify protections for child performers in the entertainment industry in the areas of wages and education.

"We commend both the NY Senate and Assembly for recognizing the importance of child protection laws and for their quick and thoughtful action. Their impressive work will assist thousands of young performers in New York," states Screen Actors Guild President Melissa Gilbert. Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) also serves as co-chair of SAG's National Young Performers Committee.

"We are extremely indebted to the sponsors of this legislation: New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno; Senator Guy Velella (R-C-31st District), Chair of the Senate Labor Committee; Assembly member Helene Weinstein (D-41st), Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-64th), all of whom recognize the logic and value of protecting our children when they work," said AFTRA National Board Member Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show).

According to Petersen, who runs A Minor Consideration, this team of union staff and members traveled to Albany on behalf of children who work in film, television and on stage. "We were joined by a number of wonderful child performers, who were particularly valuable in answering questions and offering personal examples of how and why this legislation is important for them," Petersen added. "We deeply appreciate the participation of Broadway's Ricky Ashley (HOLLYWOOD ARMS, RAGTIME) and Julianne Maurielle (OKLAHOMA!), television's Samantha Browne-Walters (Life with Bonnie, Third Watch), Alyssa May Gold (Divine Secrets of the YAYA Sisterhood) and their parents."

Petersen was joined in Albany by Ray Bradford, AFTRA National EEO Director; Willie Boston, AEA's EEO business representative; Nicole Flender, Vice-Chair of AEA's Young Performers Committee; Nancy Fox, SAG Executive Administrator; AFTRA Young Performers Committee Chair and former child model Bob Lydiard; SAG New York Legislative Chair Cynthia Vance; and union member Alan Simon, who operates On Location Education, a company that provides teaching services and education for children who perform professionally.

The union representatives also met with Assembly Member Susan John (D-131st), Assembly Member Joseph Morelle (D-132nd), chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development; George Penn and John Fredrick, legislative aides for Assembly Member Steven Sanders (D-74th District); and Susan Schmidt, Senior Aide to Senator Velella.

AFTRA, SAG and Actor's Equity work in concert on legislative and legal issues of import to those working in media, performance and entertainment.

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