The FAIR Act removes certain labor law exemptions for professional performers and music artists. A similar bill in 2021 was not taken up for a vote in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and bill sponsors, Black Music Action Coalition, California Labor Federation, Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and Music Artists Coalition (MAC), celebrate the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee’s passage of AB 2926, the Free Artists from Industry Restrictions (FAIR) Act. The bill is double-referred and passes to the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism & Internet Media Committee.
“For too long, recording artists and actors have been held under the control of an industry that uses its leverage to dictate their ability to work and their career trajectory as artists,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “With today’s affirmative vote, we are one step closer to passing AB 2926 and prohibiting contract terms that are overly restrictive, antiquated, and unnecessarily punitive towards workers.”
The FAIR Act enables actors and recording artists in California the freedom to take on additional work as long as there is no material conflict of interest with their original employer. The FAIR Act limits the unfair practice of production studios and record labels unilaterally holding artists off the job market for unreasonable periods of time.
If passed, AB 2926 will affirmatively state that artists in film and television may work for multiple employers if there is no scheduling conflict with their original employer. Additionally, the bill will extend existing labor protections to recording artists by allowing them to end their personal services agreements after seven years.
“I’m here to put a face on an issue that has real-world consequences for artists and those who rely on us: the California FAIR ACT, the Free Artists from Industry Restrictions Act, AB 2926,” said actor Ginnifer Goodwin, testifying in support of the bill today on behalf of SAG-AFTRA. “This Act is appropriately named, because in this world where studios, streaming services, and independent producers have the freedom to create anything they want, it is the very performers who fill those screens that are denied the freedom to work. We are, in short, refused essential worker mobility protection.”
"Artists should receive the same protection as every other Californian”, says Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Black Music Action Coalition. “The terms of record contracts are inequitable because the labels have all the power. And, without The FAIR Act, artists have no means of escape. Why should the creative community, which gives so much to our society, be penalized or lose their labor protections for the simple financial gain of the labels?"
“On behalf of all Californian artists, I want to thank you Assemblyman Kalra and the Labor Committee for voting today to end discrimination against working music artists,” said Irving Azoff of the Music Artists Coalition (MAC). “This is the first step in restoring the Seven Year Statute and granting artists the same protection enjoyed by every other Californian worker.”
Assemblymember Ash Kalra was first elected to the California Legislature in 2016, representing the 27th District, which encompasses approximately half of San Jose and includes all of downtown. In 2020, he was re-elected to his third term. Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the State Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and also currently serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees.