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Porn Condoms Initiative Approved by L.A. City Clerk Even as City Attorney Wants to Keep it From Voters

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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The war over condoms in porn continues this week as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced Tuesday that the L.A. City Clerk has "officially certified" the signatures it submitted in order to get a mandatory condom measure before you, the voter, next year.

The announcement comes in the wake of a strange, L.A. City Attorney's lawsuit to keep the condom measure off the ballot -- and a challenge by an L.A. city councilman to that challenge.

Yeah, seems like everybody wants in on this porn thing (or maybe they don't want to deal with it, er, head-on):

The AHF has been battling for a few years now to get condoms mandated at California porn sets.

As part of its drive it collected 70,901 voter signatures in support of putting the idea before city voters. AHF's initiative would ask the city to require condom use as a part of obtaining film permits.

The office of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich earlier this month filed suit to stop the initiative from reaching you, however, arguing that the city does not have the jurisdiction to enforce such a rule. Such an initiative, if passed, would "preempt" state power, it argued.

In fact, the state has said it does and will enforce condoms in the adult industry: The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) says federal rules prohibiting workers' exposure to bloodborne pathogens mean that California has to take up the role of prophylactic police.

And while some adult producers, including Larry Flynt's LFP video company, have been fined, the state admits it is short-handed and can't be on every set.

What's more, the AHF says the state has declared three times that the city can also enforce condoms if it wants to. "Cal-OSHA believes that there's joint jurisdiction," said AHF chief Michael Weinstein at a press teleconference this morning.

The City Attorney's office had previously stated that the city can, in fact, enforce condoms.

What's its motive in challenging the initiative, then? Weinstein:

This has been a political hot potato that no politician has wanted to touch. No one is taking responsibility, so they keep trying to pass the hot potato. They consider these people disposable. There's an ick factor.

Weinstein says the City Council this month will either have to put its measure on the next battlot (in June) or approve its language -- tying condom use to city permits.

The council could also take up the challenge by Councilman Bill Rosendahl to the City Attorney's suit.

One AHF official called it a "highly unusual" situation.

"The City attorney's job is to defend laws" that come before the city, not deny them, he argued.

The industry is watching the matter with eyes peeled. Adult leaders say that if condoms are really really required, production will go underground and out of state, where things would be even less safe.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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