Spurred by the filming of MTV shows throughout New Jersey in recent years, a bill to be introduced in the state Legislature "explicitly permits" municipalities to have a say in regulating productions.
Dubbed the "Snookiville Law," the bill to be introduced by District 12 Republican Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer would allow towns to license and regulate reality TV shows, like the "Snooki & JWoww" production that began filming in Manchester in August or the previous installments of "Jersey Shore" that filmed in Seaside Heights and Toms River.
“The popularity of MTV’s 'Jersey Shore' and other reality shows can attract crowds to a community,” Dancer said in a news release. “That can be great for local businesses and a costly challenge to a town’s ability to control crowds and protect public safety."
The bill would allow towns could adopt licensing ordinances and impose certain conditions on the production, such as requiring producers to ensure public safety by paying for an additional police presence, according to the release.
"This will help local officials make sure that the attention reality stars like Snooki and JWoww bring to their town benefits local residents and businesses,” Dancer said in the release.
Manchester Mayor Michael Fressola said that so far, the "Snooki & JWoww" production has caused no issues in town. While the mayor said that he does not feel the state law is "totally necessary," he has no objection to it.
"[Dancer] feels that in some communities there may be a need for it," Fressola said.
"The reality is these shows may cost taxpayers money by requiring additional services when cameras are rolling in town, and town leaders should have the option to license and regulate if deemed necessary,” Dancer said in the release.
But in Manchester, the police department has not been taxed by the production, Fressola said, as officers complete routine patrols through the area.
"To date, they've been very good neighbors," Fressola said. "I've heard nothing but good comments from the neighbors."
The borough administrator for Seaside Heights, where "Jersey Shore" filmed four of its six seasons since 2009, told the Asbury Park Press that he is uncertain if the legislation would usher in change, since towns already charge shows or work out agreements with producers.
A representative at Dancer's office said that once the bill is introduced, it could take anywhere from six months or longer for it to become law.