Call it the new “Hays” Code.
The Senate’s Commerce and Tourism committee on Monday cleared a bill (SPB 7128) that overhauls the state’s financial incentive program for movies and television shows filmed in Florida.
The panel also approved an amendment, requested by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, that extends an extra 5-percent tax credit to “family-friendly” productions.
They’re defined as having “cross-generational appeal; would be considered suitable for viewing by children age 5 or older (and are) appropriate in theme, content, and language for a broad family audience.”
A family-friendly film or program also “embodies a responsible resolution of issues and does not exhibit or imply any act of smoking, sex, nudity, or vulgar or profane language.”
That sounds a lot like the old Motion Picture Production Code, the Hollywood censorship guidelines in effect from 1930-68.
It was nicknamed the “Hays Code” after Will H. Hays, the first man in charge of the office tasked with enforcing moral standards in Tinseltown.
“No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it,” according to the code’s statement of principles.
“Hence, the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.”
Specifically, the code said “excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.”
Moreover, “obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song, joke, or by suggestion, even when likely to be understood only by part of the audience, is forbidden,” as were “profane or vulgar expressions.”
No one pointed out the similarity during the meeting.
Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, did ask how the family-friendly incentive could affect the many Spanish-speaking productions in Miami-Dade County.
They’d be eligible for the extra 5 percent, said committee chair Nancy Detert, R-Venice, “as long as they’re not swearing in Spanish.”