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Porn's Proposed Condom Law Suffers a Setback

Porn's Proposed Condom Law Suffers a Setback
A porn party by Nate "Igor" Smith/L.A. Weekly

Legislation that would make condom use mandatory across the state of California for working adult performers has been dealt a setback this week.

AB 1576 by L.A.-based Assemblyman Isadore Hall was tabled by the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday. The move to suspend the bill could put it on the back burner until the committee decides to move, or not, before an Aug. 15 deadline.

The porn industry trade group, the Free Speech Coalition, appeared to celebrate the move as a small victory in its years-long battle against mandatory condoms in adult video:

Diane Duke, head of the Coalition, suggested that the bill's suspension was a sign of waning support in Sacramento:

The more legislators hear about the bill, the more they don’t like it. This bill will have major financial cost for the California, while doing nothing to improve the safety of performers. And it’s not just performers and producers who are opposed to the bill, it’s HIV and AIDS outreach organizations, sex worker rights organizations, LGBTQ organizations, and business organizations. 

The bill hit a budgetary ceiling for the Appropriations Committee, triggering the suspension. But after the committee settles other money matters, it's possible it could still pass.

Terry Schanz, spokesman for Hall, told us this:

AB 1576’s temporary placement on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s suspense file is just that, a temporary placement. This is a standard procedure for all bills that reach a minimum fiscal threshold. There should be no rush to judgment on the outcome of the Committee’s action before the Committee acts ...

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has spearheaded this legislation and other laws like it, including the mandatory condom rule for porn in most of L.A. County, thinks the bill will ultimately be successful.

AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea told us:

The move of AB 1576 to suspension today is strictly a procedural move that allows the Appropriations Committee to shepherd less controversial, complicated or perhaps legislatively ‘cleaner’ or more streamlined bills through before an August 15th deadline for action by the Committee. ... We—AHF—are confident that the bill will, in fact, advance.

The multi-billion-dollar industry, based mostly in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, argues that consumers don't want to view condom porn, and that forcing the issue will only push the business out-of-state and underground, where conditions would be even less safe.

The AHF says that adult workers should be legally protected from blood-borne pathogens, just as most other workers are.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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