City Lawmaker Proposes Licenses for Times Square Characters

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    A New York City councilman has drafted a bill that would require licenses for people hoping to make extra cash by portraying popular cartoon characters, superheroes and mascots in Times Square, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    Councilman Andy King proposed the new regulations, which include background checks, for the legions of Elmos, Mickey Mouses, Spider-Mans and Statues of Liberty that roam the Crossroads of the World, taking photos with children and tourists for a few dollars.

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    King told the Journal the bill would put “checks and balances” on the characters’ interactions with the public.

    "I am particularly concerned adults are dressing up in kids' character costumes and pretty much harassing or even begging for money to take a picture," he told the newspaper.

    A community meeting is planned for Wednesday in Times Square to discuss the proposal.

    City lawmakers and community groups are planning to attend, the Journal reports.

    The proposal comes amid calls for crackdowns on the people who portray the characters following a string of high-profile altercations and arrests, including a fight between two people dressed as the Statue of Liberty, a groping arrest, and the harassment conviction of a man portraying Spider-Man.

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