A bill that would require condoms to be used in all adult films produced in California narrowly cleared the Assembly on Tuesday.
Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), the measure's author, said he sought to bring workplace safety standards, present in all other "legitimate businesses," to the adult film industry.
"A minimum level of safety in the workplace should not be negotiated," Hall said on the Assembly floor.
He noted that law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses and other professionals all are required to wear protective gear when risking exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
In addition to mandating the use of condoms or other protective barriers, the measure would require performers to be tested for sexually transmitted infections no more than 14 days before filming.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), the only lawmaker to speak against the bill on the floor, said he was concerned with the larger implications of placing a mandate on an industry.
"I believe the implications of whatever is passed in this bill will be felt by every other small business owner in the state of California," Donnelly said.
The bill has attracted fierce opposition from some in the industry, who argue that the industry's current testing standards do enough to prevent the spread of disease.
"The real goal of this bill is to push adult production out of California by manufacturing a crisis," said Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, an adult entertainment industry group. "It makes for great headlines, but dangerous public policy. We're incredibly concerned."
Hall said the warnings that adult film production would flee California is a "lie." He said California and New Hampshire are the only two states that allow adult film production, and in Las Vegas, often proposed as an alternative home to the industry, sex workers are required to use condoms.
He dismissed the industry's concern as an unlikely doomsday prediction.
They said folks were going to stop buying cars once you started requiring cars to have seat belts," Hall said in an interview, "and the car industry is still surviving."