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Proposed Legislation Seeks To Curb Aggressive Behavior By Costumed Times Square Characters

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- The aggressive behavior of some costumed characters in Times Square has left many people feeling that 'there oughta be a law.'

As CBS 2's Scott Rapoport reported, that could soon happen.

Memo to Elmo, Cookie Monster, Spider-Man, and any other costumed characters charged with creepy, even violent behavior: there is a new plan afoot to curb such rudeness.

"This bill is strictly about safety in the city of New York," City Councilman Andy King said.

King and the Times Square Alliance announced the proposed legislation that would require all characters with their faces covered to be licensed and registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs, submit to background checks, and wear ID badges with a photo and city issued number.

"You could say 'Elmo #6 was the one causing the problem, but Elmos #1-5 are fine,'" Alliance President Tim Tompkins explained.

The crackdown comes after incidents like one that involved a Spider-Man allegedly punching cop, and an Elmo who was arrested for allegedly harassing people and yelling anti-Semitic slurs.

Nearby the announcement a group of characters protested the proposal.

Elizabeth Holland, who dresses as 'Officer Friendly,' said that the crackdown was unfair and that most of her colleagues are courteous and kind.

"One out of the hundred, one bad apple that you have, you know the other 99 are suffering because of him," Holland said.

The plan has a lot of support from people in the Times Square area.

"I think it's good. They're covered, you don't know who's approaching you," Josephine Ciallella said.

The proposal would allow characters to solicit for tips, but not in an aggressive manner. It also prohibits standing in the streets or within 5-feet of a subway station.

Violators could face fines of up to $50 for a first offense.

The cost of a license would be $170 for two years. The legislation is set to be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday.

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