“Snookiville” Law Would Let Towns Regulate Reality Shows [AUDIO]
Towns that welcome reality shows into their hospices but aren't prepared for the unexpected expenses to their public safety or other resources will have a way of recouping the funds from the production companies thanks to a bill introduced by shore Assemblyman Ronald Dancer.
Dancer's "Snookiville" Law A-3273 will explicitly give towns the option to be able to better regulate reality TV show productions. That includes creating ordinances that require the production companies of the show pay for any additional police officers or other unexpected township expenses they attribute to.
With shows like Cake Boss, Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jersey Shore (with all its iterations) filming in New Jersey, Dancer says the Garden State is increasingly becoming an attractive place to film for these productions. He believes the proposed bill gives towns a measure of security for the unpredictable situations that could occur within a shows filming.
"It's proven that these can shows certainly attract crowds they can benefit local business, but they can also challenge a local communities resources."
Dancer says when shows often bring with them a certain spectacle factor that brings lots of people with it.
"When you are dealing with onlookers and the curiosity seekers and you bring reality TV stars into a community obviously it attracts crowds and there may be a need for public safety to have both crowd and traffic control measures in place."
"In the event a community wants to provide additional police officers for crowd and traffic control they will be able to receive from the film company a contribution either an off duty police trust fund or perhaps pay the municipality directly for the services," Dancer adds.
Under the legislation, municipalities would have state backing through a statewide law that authorizes to license and regulate reality TV shows.
"Without the state law in place, municipalities would not have the legal authority to actually charge a reasonable fee to offset the costs of its traffic control or crowd control costs to a local police department," says Dancer.
He notes under the old system, a municipality who has an agreement with a production company has very little leeway to challenge any of the terms.
"If there are terms of that agreement that are challenged in court, they will not withstand that challenge on behalf of the local community because it's not licensed and regulated under a particular statute."
He notes the bill is mutually beneficial to towns and the production company because it gives both parties a state backed agreement , rather than creating a civil dispute in the court system.
"What this will do is under state law they will now be permitted to adopt a local ordinance that withstand a legal challenge if in fact everything in the terms and agreements is not fulfilled."
The legislation is considered "permissive", meaning towns are not obligated to utilize the bill.