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Proposed measure would require condoms in porn

All porn actors working in California would have to wear condoms, under a new proposed ballot measure that Secretary of State Alex Padilla has cleared to start circulating for signatures.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein believes condom use in pornography already is required under laws dealing with blood-borne pathogens, but the industry has largely ignored this and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has failed to enforce it.

He's here to helpSo he’s proposing a separate law that explicitly would require performers in adult films to wear condoms during intercourse; requires adult-film producers to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical exams related to sexually transmitted infections; require producers to get state health licenses at the start of filming and post the condom requirement at film sites.

Producers would be held liable for violations, as would certain distributors; performers, if they have a financial interest in the film that causes the violation; and talent agents who knowingly refer performers to producers who don’t comply.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office and state Finance Department estimate such a law could reduce state and local tax revenue by tens of millions of dollars per year as adult film production either leaves the state or is driven underground, and also could cost the state a few million dollars per year to administer.

In order to qualify the measure for next year’s ballot, Weinstein will have to collect signatures of 365,880 registered voters (5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in last year’s gubernatorial election) and submit them to county elections officials by Sept. 14.

Los Angeles voters in 2012 approved Measure B, requiring mandatory condom use in porn films; the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that law in December. Nevada is considering such regulations, too.

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Bill would require condom use in California porn

The California Legislature remains, er, hard at work.

Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, D-Los Angeles, announced he’s holding a news conference tomorrow – Valentine’s Day – to introduce a bill requiring condom use in all adult films produced in California.

Hall will be joined by Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Darren James, a former adult film actor who contracted HIV while working in the porn industry. The assemblyman’s news release said his bill would “provide statewide uniformity needed to ensure that the thousands of actors employed in this multi-billion dollar industry are given reasonable workplace safety protections needed to reduce exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

About 57 percent of Los Angeles County voters in November approved Measure B, requiring the use of condoms in all adult films produced within the county.

The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation conducts regular screenings of porn performers, which has minimized the spread of HIV and other diseases. But James was believed to have contracted the virus during a film shoot in Brazil, and transmitted it to several actresses here in California before he tested positive a few weeks later in 2004.

UPDATE @ 2:22 P.M.: Remarkably, this isn’t the only condom legislation the Assembly is rolling out (or on) today.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, just announced he has introduced a bill that would further public health goals by ending the criminalization of condom possession among sex workers.

AB 336 would end the practice by which police use the possession of one or more prophylactics as a factor in prostitution arrests and prosecution. Researchers believe this change would help stem the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“The police have plenty of other criteria they can use in determining who should be arrested as a prostitute, but condoms are the only effective deterrent to the spread of HIV,” Ammiano said in a news release. “We have to encourage safe-sex practices, not frighten people into spreading disease.”

A researcher presenting a study at the International AIDS Conference in 2012 called for just this kind of legislation to resolve the dilemma of sex workers who feel they must decide between being arrested and protecting themselves for sexually transmitted diseases. Condom use during prostitution also protects customers and families of both parties.

The bill would not prevent the police from identifying or arresting suspected prostitutes. Law enforcement could still use other factors – things like presence in known prostitution areas, approaching cars, manner of dress, possession of sex toys or lubricants, possession of large amounts of cash – as evidence.

“They can still arrest people under the law,” Ammiano said. “They would only be prevented from using as evidence the one thing that protects public health: condoms.”