NY councilman proposes legislation regulating Elmo, other costumed characters in Times Square

Associated Press

A New York City Council member is proposing legislation that would regulate the costumed characters who pose for photos with tourists in Times Square.

The rules would include how far Spider-Man, Elmo and the other characters have to stand from subway entrances and stores. The characters also would be required to wear photo IDs.

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Councilman Andy King said Monday he'll introduce the bill at a meeting on Wednesday. He says the impetus came from a slew of incidents in which the people in costume harassed and even assaulted tourists over tipping.

Under the bill, the characters would have to apply to the city and pass background checks.

Critics say the rules are unnecessary and would make life harder for people who are working for very little money.