State can spend $45 mil over three years

California legislators have approved a bill that will enable the state to spend $45 million over the next three years to halt runaway production and bolster the state’s $28 billion film industry.

Following Senate approval on Wednesday, the State Assembly cleared AB 484, the Film California First bill, on Thursday 47-17 on the legislature’s final day of business this year. The measure, authored by Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, needed 41 votes to pass.

Gov. Gray Davis included the funds in his 2000-01 state budget, announced in mid-May, with a program to subsidize production costs that filmmakers usually pay, such as services from the California Highway Patrol and the fire marshals. Reimbursements could cover costs for state and federal employees, federal permit and rental costs, local public costs for fire services and nonpolice public safety.

A rep for Kuehl said the legislature needed to enact the bill to spell out the details of how the money will be handled with specific limits on reimbursement for individual filmmakers.

Davis had included the funds as part of a $10 billion hike from the $88 billion budget he proposed in January.

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