A bill aimed at protecting child actors from sexual predators took a step closer to becoming law on Thursday.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved A.B. 1660, which requires persons representing artists who are under 18 years of age to obtain a Child Performer Services Permit (CPSP) from the Department of Industrial Relations. Under the legislation, sex offenders are barred from representing minor artists. The bill also requires criminal background checks on professionals such as publicists and photographers who have unsupervised access to young performers.
“If AB 1660 can help save one child from the pain and consequences of being made the victim of a child predator, it will be worth the effort," said Assembly Member Nora Campos, D-San Jose, the bill's author.
Campos pointed to the case of former child star Corey Feldman, who told reporters that pedophilia was rampant in the entertainment business.
"If the claim of Mr. [Cory] Feldman is true, that the draw of Hollywood attracts the hopeful and those who prey on hope in equal numbers—AB 1660 must be passed," Campos added.
One state Assembly aide characterized the bill as a "speeding train."
Adding urgency to the process is the case of Martin Weiss, who was sentenced in June to one year in county jail and five years of probation for molesting an aspiring musician under the age of 14 he once represented.
That case also had a significant influence on Campos' decision to push the legislation, according to her office.
The bill could go to the Senate floor as early as next week. It would then face a final vote in the Assembly.