Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 5:00 pm | Fair 66º


Nava’s Bill Prohibits Exploitation of Children in Political Campaigns

Measure would prevent campaigns from using kids in commercials without parental consent

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, announced Friday that his Assembly Bill 67 (AB 67) to prohibit political campaigns from using children in commercials and other campaign materials without consent passed the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee in a 5-0 vote.

“I am very pleased that AB 67 was approved yesterday,” Nava said. “This legislation is extremely important to prevent the exploitation of children. When I saw how kids were used by the Yes on 8 campaign, I was outraged. The use of the images of these children without parental consent is a violation of their right to privacy. AB 67 makes that right clear by prohibiting these commercials all together.”

Current law is somewhat unclear on this issue. Because of competing Constitutional rights of privacy for the child and free speech for the campaign, political campaigns like Yes on 8 have little fear that anyone will ever actually take them to task for such commercials.

Laura Hodder of San Francisco, the mother of a child who was featured in a Yes on 8 television campaign commercial, joined Nava in supporting AB 67. In October of 2008, the Yes on 8 campaign used the images of children who were attending a same-sex wedding as part of a school field trip. The parents sent a letter to the Yes on 8 campaign demanding that the commercials be pulled. The campaign refused.

“How does a parent explain to a 6-year old child that he is being featured in a TV commercial — a commercial with a message to which the family is morally opposed?” Hodder asked. “I have never felt so helpless as a parent. Political campaigns need to act with integrity, and this bill will help make that happen.”

“AB 67 ensures that when campaigns run offensive commercials like these, the campaigns will likely find themselves before a judge and facing costly penalties,” Nava said.

The bill will next be considered by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

— John Mann is a spokesman for State Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.


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