Senate to look into labor violations

State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton has firmed up the agenda for a Sept. 28 legislative hearing on regulation of talent agents and personal managers.

The state labor commissioner, Screen Actors Guild, the Assn. of Talent Agents, the Entertainment Law Bar, the Independent Talent Agents Assn. and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have been tapped to send reps to speak at the day-long confab at the Reagan building in downtown Los Angeles. The morning session will deal with agents while the afternoon will focus on managers.

Burton established the panel — dubbed the Senate Select Committee on the Regulation of Talent Agencies — in April in order to review the state’s Talent Agency Act, which grants the labor commissioner power to regulate agents. “I want to know if the laws on the books are being enforced, and if not, why not, and should they be changed,” he said at the time.

Kevin Spacey and Richard Dreyfuss have been named co-chairs of a SAG panel on the hearing, which takes place following a 10-month impasse between ATA and SAG over the tenpercenters’ request to loosen the financial-interest rules and other regs in SAG’s agency franchise agreement.

Agents have contended that the rules give managers an unfair advantage and note that SAG is refusing to enforce a ban on members using managers to perform agent functions; the guild contends that easing the rules could create unacceptable conflicts of interest and has asked Burton to toughen state rules in such areas as complaints about agents and managers.

The SAG rules will expire Jan. 20, but once Burton announced the hearing, the guild said it would not resume negotiations until after it was completed.

Leadoff speaker will be Lionel Sobel, editor and publisher of the Entertainment Law Reporter, who plans to review the history of the Talent Agency Act, its enforcement and how it addresses conflicts of interest.

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