How the Hollywood Lobby, Pets and Farm Bill Go Together
The Motion Picture Association of America spent $600,000 in one quarter this year to lobby the U.S. government on a bunch of issues, including a little-talked about amendment to the Senate version of the farm bill.
The amendment, which passed this summer by an 88-11 margin, was sponsored by Louisiana Democratic Sen. David Vitter and ensures that TV and film extras who bring their pets on set do not face "unnecessary regulations."
"Currently, if you're a movie extra and have your dog with you - you're subject to burdensome paperwork and approval from a USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] bureaucrat. Sen. Vitter's amendment eliminates the unnecessary regulation," Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar told the Alley.
Vitter sponsored the amendment because the film and television industry play a significant part in Louisiana's economy. In 2002, the state passed a tax credit that made making movies and television shows financially appealing to producers.
But just how big a problem was this that an amendment was needed to address it?
Asked if there was a specific film or television show that prompted the senator to propose the amendment, Bolar said there wasn't anything "specific to cite." Agriculture Department spokesman Matthew Herrick said the department wasn't "aware of the impetus" when asked the same question. The MPAA's Kate Bedingfield said no film or TV show in particular led the association to back the amendment but that the license requirement was "an unnecessary burden."