Senate Hands Setback to Hollywood Studios


Washington -- Taking another shot at Hollywood in response
to the Columbine High School shootings, the Senate voted last Wednesday night to allow
federal officials to block filmmakers from using federal land and property to shoot movie
sequences that glorify violence.

The 66-31 vote came one week after the Senate ordered the
Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether Hollywood studios
and video-game makers intentionally market violent products to children under age 18.

The Department of the Interior and the Department of
Defense issue permits to moviemakers to use federal land and property to make their films.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), sponsor of the amendment,
said he wanted to send a message to Hollywood that there would be consequences if the film
industry did not take the impact of media violence on children seriously.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
opposed the amendment, saying it would turn federal bureaucrats into censors and
discriminate against all films with violent content without regard to the message being

The McConnell amendment was attached to a youth-violence
bill that the Senate began debating a few weeks after two teenage gunmen killed 13 people
at the Littleton, Colo., high school before taking their own lives.

The amendment would bar a "federal department or
agency" from granting to any entity or individual the right "to film a motion
picture or television production for commercial purposes on federal property or with the
use of federal equipment or manpower if such picture or production glorifies or endorses
wanton and gratuitous violence."

McConnell's amendment, however, would exempt
"bona fide newsreel or news-television production; any public-service announcement;
or any depiction of historical events."