What was once a proposal that got cut down in Sacramento is now breezing through the legislature with momentum.
A bill that would require porn stars to use condoms in California was approved by the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee yesterday. This despite a last-ditch effort by a group of performers to get the L.A.-based assemblyman behind the legislation, Isadore Hall, to back off.
No dice. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has backed the proposal, was elated by the committee's 3-1 vote:
Michael Weinstein, president of the group, said:
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.
Hall got a little tongue-in-cheek with his response, saying in a statement that the committee …
… overwhelmingly saw beyond the adult film industry's flaccid misinformation campaign and took decisive action to protect these actors in the workplace.
His office added:
The adult film industry is a legitimate, legal business. It is time for the industry to stop deceiving the public and start acting like every other legitimate legal business in California.
The industry has been dead against mandatory condoms, even though they're now the law in most of its home base, L.A. County.
Leaders in the business have argued that consumers don't want to see condom porn — and that it would hurt the bottom line. They've also said that a mandate would force production into a less-safe underground environment.
Porn has a twice-a-month, voluntary STD testing protocol for performers that the industry says works.
The adult video trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition called yesterday's vote …
… a slap in the face to adult performers, who have been outspoken in their opposition this bill and have worked so hard to defeat it. In his words and actions, Hall has made it abundantly clear that he knows little about the performers he seeks to control, and respects their opinions even less. He has not worked with them on this bill, and has actively spurned their offers to create an alternate solution that would strengthen comprehensive workplace safety measures while respecting their real concerns about privacy and personal choice.
The bill next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee