SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014, cleared a major legislative hurdle today, passing the Senate Governance and Finance Committee by a vote of 6-0. The legislation, authored by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), and co-authored by more than 65 other legislators, would expand and improve the state’s current program to keep production jobs in California.

Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto “I remember when our communities lost all the good aerospace jobs,” said Gatto. “Losing major employers really harms local families and our state economy. This effort is a rare example of government taking proactive steps to ensure well-paying jobs stay in our communities.”

California’s film and television industry has faced increasing competition in recent years from subsidies by other states and countries. Since its creation in 2009, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act prevented as many as 51,000 well-paying jobs from leaving the state, and helped generate $4.5 billion in economic activity. Despite the program’s success, figures from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from 2004-2012, California lost more than 16,000 film- and television-industry jobs, resulting in more than $1.5 billion in lost wages and economic activity.

“We can’t sit by and watch a $17 billion dollar a year sector of our economy leave California,” said Bocanegra. “This expanded and improved program will go a long way towards making California more competitive with other state’s programs. I appreciate the Committee’s support of AB 1839 today and look forward to seeing it continue through the legislative process and ultimately protect California jobs.”

The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.