A proposed law that would require on-set condom use by porn stars was approved by the California Assembly today.
The bill by local Assemblyman Isadore Hall passed 47 to 15, according to Hall's office.
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The legislation would have to be approved by the state Senate and, if necessary, bounce between the two houses for revisions before it could head to the governor's desk for his signature. That's if it survives certain committees:
However, last year a similar bill didn't even make it this far, so this appears to bode well for the AB 1576.
The porn industry has fought the law tooth-and-nail, arguing that it would require dental dams, goggles and gloves, which Hall's people deny.
The adult trade organization known as the Free Speech Coalition has argued that fans don't want to see condom porn and that such a requirement, already in effect for most of L.A. County, would force production underground and out-of-state, where such sex could be less safe.
The business mostly adheres to a voluntary, twice-a-month STD testing program for performers, one the industry says works.
Hall's supporters, including AB 1576's main sponsor, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, say this is simply about condoms (not gloves, goggles and the like) and preventing STDs.
The AHF notes that federal workplace law protects workers from exposure to blood-borne pathogens (like sperm) on-the-job.
Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, said this today:
AB 1576 expands and broadens worker protections for all California's adult film workers on a statewide basis. Assemblymember Hall has shown the courage and vision to recognize that all workers in this industry are entitled to the same safeguards and worker protections that any employee in California would be. We thank the Assembly for passing this bill and will now press the California Senate to act swiftly and favorably on the bill.
Hall's office stated:
The adult film industry, given the type of work required, disproportionately exposes actors, and particularly women, to a range of health and safety risks. The industry has been largely self-regulated and has done an inadequate job of protecting its employees from disease infection.
[Added at 5:23 p.m.]: Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, sent us this statement:
We're disappointed, but we're not surprised. For anyone not familiar with the adult industry, including most legislators, the bill seems like a no-nonsense provision that would protect performers. Unfortunately, it threatens to harm the very performers it seeks to protect. This is why over five hundred performers have spoken out against the bill, and why groups like the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and the Transgender Law Center. The real goal of the bill is to push adult production out of California by manufacturing a crisis. It makes for great headlines, but dangerous public policy. We're incredibly concerned.