Prop 60 to require more stringent condom regulation in porn industry: Opposed by both California Democratic and Republican parties

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On its face, Proposition 60, “Adult Films, Condoms, Health Requirements Initiative Statute,” would seem likely to attract wide approval as a health initiative designed to reduce risk of sexually transmitted disease by requiring use of condoms in the adult film industry.

But the story may be in the united front opposing the measure. Prop 60 is the only ballot initiative opposed by both the California Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the California Libertarian Party. Other opponents include AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Opposition centers on the proposition’s vague wording, cost to enforce, free-speech constraints, redundancy (existing laws already in place) and delegation of power to one man, chief proponent and CEO of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Michael Weinstein.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office notes that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health already requires adult film condom use. Cal/OSHA generally enforces these rules by responding to complaints from within the industry.

Industry practice varies — some adult film production companies require use of condoms. Some don’t. Other companies, instead, require regular STI testing to confirm that performers are free of harmful infections. Proponents argue Prop 60 would close loopholes and create a highly detailed regulatory process to ensure condoms are used in the adult film industry.

Prop 60 would change workplace health and safety rules by adding a specific condom requirement to the California Labor Code; require adult film producers be licensed and provide information to the state about adult film shoots; expand time frame for enforcement of some adult film workplace health and safety violations; make distributor and agents potentially liable for violation of some adult film workplace rules; and allow, in some cases, any California resident to bring a civil lawsuit against producers for some adult film workplace health and safety violations.

Probably the most contentious piece of the proposed legislation is the provision allowing any California resident, including the chief proponent of this legislation, to request Cal/OSHA investigate some alleged adult film workplace health and safety violation, and the consequent costs of legal process.

Language also gives “a private right of action to adult film performers to recover civil damages for economic or personal injury caused by adult film producers’ failure to comply with the health and safety requirement of this Act.”

Also, one section of the act “Aiding and Abetting,” has fueled the opposition’s ire. Specifically it states, “Any person found to have aided and abetted any other person or persons in violation of Labor Code section 6720.5 (a) shall be found liable for violating [the section].” The section is an addition to the Labor Code that requires adult film producers to maintain “engineering controls and work practice controls” to ensure condom use on the set.

Opponents contend the proposition is overreaching and too broad in its regulatory process.

The LAO posits the cost to enforce would exceed $1 million annually but that much of that cost would come from new fees on adult film producers. Other possible budget effects cited would be possible reduction in number of adult films made, thereby resulting in a minor increase in state or local costs for health or social service programs.

In 2012, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly approved a similar initiative, Measure B, which required adult film actors to wear condoms on the set. The Los Angeles Times noted that the government is ill-equipped to mandate and enforce the provisions of Measure B.

Opponents contend the initiative’s language is poorly drafted, that passage would lead to many lawsuits that could threaten the safety of adult performers, that the proposition would violate worker privacy, that it would create a state employee who would review pornographic films for infractions, only legislators would be able to vote the individual out of the position, if necessary, and that cost to taxpayers would exceed millions of dollars and be “unnecessary.”

They also argue that the more than $2 million spent to get this measure on the ballot and potential costs to enforce would be better spent on health education campaigns and disease prevention for the wider populace.

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