Paul Cambria: “Measure B amounts to interfering with the creative process”

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from – Actors in porn films shot anywhere in California would have to use condoms under a bill introduced by a local assemblyman.

The bill by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, would be similar to a measure passed by voters last year in Los Angeles County.

Hall said he introduced Assembly Bill 332 because lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all workers.

“When it comes down to it, adult film actors are employees, like any other employee for any other business in the state,” Hall said Thursday during a news conference at the Los Angeles office of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“This may not be a sexy bill,” Hall said, noting he was making his announcement on Valentine’s Day. “But we have to hold accountable an industry that makes $14 billion a year. At the end of the day, we, as legislators, have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect workers.”

In November, Los Angeles County voters passed Measure B requiring adult film studios to apply for public health permits and for the county Department of Public Health to lead inspection and enforcement efforts. AHF introduced and supported Measure B, which supporters say will prevent sexually transmitted diseases from spreading from within the industry to the mainstream.

Studios that violate the law and do not apply for permits or require condoms could face civil fines and criminal charges.

The ordinance will take effect immediately in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and in the city of Los Angeles, which passed its own ordinance. But it won’t be implemented in the 85 cities that contract with the county’s health department until those municipalities adopt the measure into their codes.

The law also does not apply in Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon because those cities have their own municipal health departments.

“Long Beach is in the process,” said Whitney Engeran, the senior director of public health for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “If it means we have to go to Long Beach and to 85 city council meetings to move this forward, we’ll do it.”

A state law already mandates condom use on adult film sets, but enforcement is based largely on performers’ complaints to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Hall also said he was pushing for uniform, statewide enforcement because 75 percent of the voters in his district approved Measure B, showing him that people care about the safety of workers.

Hall’s district includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Watts/Willowbrook and Wilmington.

The adult film industry largely opposes mandatory condom use and public health permitting, arguing the rules would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and that self-regulation works fine.

Last year, the industry halted production until reports of nearly a dozen syphilis cases were substantiated.

Two performers disclosed they had the disease to the Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, which oversees industry testing.

Adult film actors also have defended the porn industry’s voluntary guidelines, under which performers are tested every 14 and 28 days for HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Actors and directors then view each others’ medical records, to make sure health tests have been passed.

After the passage of Measure B, adult film studios threatened to leave the San Fernando Valley, where most pornographic movies are made, and, if needed, the state. Adult films are protected under the Freeman decision of 1988, which made the making of pornographic films legal in California. Only New Hampshire has a similar law.

In addition, one of the largest adult film studios filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in federal court last month, calling Measure B unconstitutional.

Universal City-based Vivid Entertainment LLC claims that the Measure B violates actors’ rights to free speech and expression.

“Whatever ruling we get in federal court regarding the county case will apply to any legislation whether county or state,” said attorney Paul Cambria, who is representing Vivid. “I think it would be a horrible step that someone’s rights can be extinguished by a referendum and that’s what (county officials) are trying to do. Measure B amounts to interfering with the creative process.”

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