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Adult industry lobbies at Capitol

SACRAMENTO — Performers and business executives of the adult film industry met Tuesday with state lawmakers and staffers in an annual lobbying trip to the Capitol that took on greater urgency because of the industry’s recent HIV scare.

After two performers tested positive for HIV, the San Fernando Valley-based industry has faced increased scrutiny and calls for additional regulations, such as requiring the use of condoms.

Tuesday’s daylong trip, in which members of the Free Speech Coalition met with legislators or their staff members, had been planned long before the HIV scare. But the trip served to help the group fight any renewed calls to regulate the industry before they gain momentum.

“It’s our opportunity to come and introduce ourselves to the legislators, to explain more about our industry to them, to answer questions and in some cases to either lobby for or against legislation,” said coalition executive director Kat Sunlove.

Among Valley legislators, the group met with staffers from the offices of Assembly members Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, and Cindy Montanez, D-Mission Hills.

Levine said he is open to meeting with any constituent group, no matter what he may think of their industry or issue.

He said he might be interested in considering additional regulations of the industry, but isn’t aware of any pending legislation to do that.

“I think it would be responsible of us to look at possibly requiring condoms or something like that, when you’re talking about public safety and health,” Levine said. “I don’t think we need to rampantly engage in regulation of any industry, but when there are matters of public health at stake, then we do need to look at that because that is our job as legislators, to protect the public health and safety.”

Actress Mary Carey, who attracted media attention with her run for governor in last year’s recall election, said she joined the trip to add to her political experience. She said the trip also helps to put a more human and responsible face on the industry.

The group’s main legislative concern was not censorship or the threat of increased regulation because of the HIV scare. Instead, it was a bill that has little direct relation to their industry, but affects all businesses.

AB 1894, by Assemblyman John Longville, D-San Bernardino, would allow businesses to access copies of their records that have been seized by law enforcement authorities during an investigation.

Supporters of the bill say that when law enforcement officials do not allow companies access to copies of seized records, such as client databases and accounting records, it can interfere with the operations of the business for months or longer while the investigation proceeds.

Sunlove said that has been a problem when production companies have been subject to investigations.
 

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