Attempting to maintain a business-as-usual tone amid the recall frenzy, Gov. Gray Davis signed two dozen bills Tuesday, including a measure to fine elected officials up to $5,000 if they force producers to make donations for support in obtaining a film permit.
“This bill will help eliminate a perceived conflict of interest with respect to film permits and charitable solicitations by state and local agency officials,” Davis said.
Assembly Bill 1478 was introduced by Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Los Feliz) earlier this year following published reports that Los Angeles City Council members had requested donations as a condition of supporting road closures for filming. The officials had defended their actions, asserting that they were merely looking out for the interests of the community.
But Frommer argued the practice was fueling runaway production by raising the cost of film production and leaving the state at a larger disadvantage to other production sites such as Canada and Mexico.
Move comes two weeks after Davis signed the state’s 2003-04 budget, designed to bridge a $38 billion budget gap. The budget slashed funding for the state’s film commission and eliminated the Film California First incentive program, which had doled out $21 million in incentives.
Meanwhile, state election officials said Tuesday that 247 people were running for governor, an all-time record. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has positioned himself as a moderate centrist, is the most recognizable name on the Oct. 7 ballot.