Actors’ Equity Association Applauds Senate Passage of California SB 1116

Union Calls on Gov. Newsom to Support the Innovative Bill From Sen. Portantino That Ensures Arts Funding Goes to Arts Workers and Helps Small Nonprofits with Payroll

LOS ANGELES – Actors’ Equity Association released the following statement applauding the passage of California Senate Bill 1116, a measure introduced by Senator Anthony Portantino (D – Burbank) which creates a payroll fund to support small nonprofit performing arts organizations (SNPAOs). The bill passed the California Senate Floor today and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.

While California has made gains under Gov. Newsom, it has suffered from years of underinvestment in the arts. Prior to the pandemic, California ranked 28th in state arts funding on a per capita basis. SB 1116 helps solve this problem and arts workers who still have not fully recovered from the shutdown of the live arts sector during the pandemic.

SB 1116 establishes the Equitable Payroll Fund (EPF), a grant program designed to support live performances – and workers directly – by providing reimbursements of payroll expenses. This program will support jobs for both production and non-production employees.

“Unfortunately, live arts workers in California have still not fully recovered from a double hit – the COVID shutdown on top of years of under investment in the arts,” said Brandon Lorenz, National Director of Public Policy for Actors’ Equity Association. “The live arts are a huge economic driver in communities across California. SB 1116 came together after months of collaboration with small nonprofit employers and it will ensure that arts workers themselves actually benefit from arts funding. I’m grateful for the leadership for Senator Portantino in getting this innovative bill to the floor for a vote and hope that Gov. Newsom will sign it without delay.”

The bill could not be more timely. Arts and cultural employment declined 12.1 percent in California between 2019 and 2020, according to recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A March study from the National Endowment from the Arts found that the unemployment rate in the arts in 2021 (7.2 percent) was still more than double the pre-pandemic level.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks

August 31, 2022