PolitiCal News and analysis on California politics

California will vote in 2016 on condoms for porn actors

A California initiative that would require actors in adult films to wear condoms in sex scenes has qualified for the November 2016 ballot, officials said Wednesday.

The measure was proposed by Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who said it is needed to provide statewide rules modeled on those adopted by voters of Los Angeles County in 2012.

"It’s another milestone -- the qualification of this initiative," Weinstein said Wednesday. "We've taken polls that show, statewide, 71% support. We're very confident that we will be successful on election day."

He said the measure would take away the threat that porn industry productions would move out of Los Angeles County to other parts of the state. Adult film actors deserve the same safety protections as those in other industries, he added.

"There is no area of employment where safety is optional," Weinstein said.

State officials say there are already regulations requiring protection of employees who have occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens, but ambiguity in the rules has led some in the adult film industry to assert that they are not covered. The initiative is necessary to clarify the issue for the industry, put the requirement into law, and allow aggressive enforcement, supporters say.

In addition to requiring actors to wear condoms when performing sex acts on camera, the initiative would require adult film producers to pay for vaccinations and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Producers would have to get a state health license and post written notices on the set spelling out the condom requirement.

Violations could result in fines of up to $70,000.

The industry plans to campaign against the initiative, arguing that there are already testing programs for HIV, said Diane Duke, chief executive of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based trade association for the adult film industry.

“If the proposed initiative were to pass, adult performers would immediately be targeted by stalkers and profiteers, who would use the initiatives’ sue-a-performer provision to harass and extort adult performers,” Duke said. “This is an unconscionable initiative that would take a legal and safe industry and push its performers into the shadows."

The current industry program tests actors every 14 days for HIV. Duke said there has not been an on-set transmission of HIV in the regulated adult film industry since 2004.

With the adult film industry threatening to move productions out of state if the measure passes, the state Legislative Analyst and Finance Director estimates that state and local tax revenue may decline by tens of millions of dollars a year.

The Times reported recently that the number of permits for adult film productions in Los Angeles County has fallen 90% since 2012, according to FilmL.A. Inc., which oversees permits.

Under a new process, once an initiative is deemed eligible for the ballot, the Legislature holds hearings and initiative sponsors can withdraw their measures if lawmakers agree to pass a similar law.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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