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AHF To Submit 360K Signatures on L.A. County Ballot Measure Friday Morning at 10:30

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LOS ANGELES — As part of its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in porn films shot and produced in California in an effort to reduce the spread of STDs including HIV, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and members of FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’), a group that has been shepherding signature gathering and support for a Los Angeles County ballot initiative process, will host a press conference Friday, May 25th at 10:30 AM Pacific in the Bradley Tower of Los Angeles City Hall (200 N. Spring Street, 23rd floor)–to announce the collection and filing of over 360,000 signatures of Los Angeles County residents in support of a County of Los Angeles ballot initiative that allows Los Angeles voters to directly weigh in on a measure that would, “…require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (‘the Department’) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.”

Members of AHF and FAIR launched the County ballot measure drive in early January of this year on the heels of successfully qualifying a similar City of Los Angeles ballot initiative tying distribution of adult film permits to condom use.

The groups have until June 5th to gather the signatures needed for the County measure. 232,153 valid signatures of Los Angeles County residents are required to qualify the measure and make the Nov 2012 ballot (a number based on a percentage of total votes cast in the last County-wide election); 255,368 to qualify by the random sample (30 day check).

In a precautionary measure, AHF and FAIR have collected and will submit well over that number as a cushion: approximately 360,000 signatures total. After validation of the signatures by County officials, the measure will go before Los Angeles County voters on the November 2012 ballot–the presidential election ballot.

“In January, advocates from AHF and FAIR launched the petition drive for this measure which will require all adult film producers operating in Los Angeles County to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Today–just under five months later–we are very pleased to announce that over 360,000 Los Angeles County voters have spoken up loudly and clearly on this: we collected and will submit that number of signatures in support of this measure,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative. “This ordinance is modeled after the County’s similar health permitting process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses. We are grateful that officials from the City of Los Angeles already acted earlier this year to adopt a similar citywide measure, and now we look forward to taking this measure directly to voters throughout the County of Los Angeles in November.”

This ordinance will be known as the ‘County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act.’ Advocates need to collect over 200,000 signatures of voters by June 5, 2012, and if successful, would place the measure on the November 2012 election–the same ballot as the presidential election

On December 8, 2012 Michael Ruiz, a Staff Assistant with the Election Planning and Coordination Section of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office provided the following preliminary ‘Official Title and Summary’ for the proposed ballot measure as set forth below:

County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act

— The measure would enact an ordinance to add Chapter 11.39, entitled ‘Adult Films,” to Title 11, Health and Safety, of the Los Angeles County Code.

— The purpose of the measure is intended to minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections by regulating the adult film industry.

— The measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“the Department”) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.

— The measure would provide for a permitting process that requires application submission and proof of completion of a blood borne pathogen training course, after which a permit shall be issued. The measure also requires submission of an exposure control plan.

— The measure would require use of condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films, as well as the posting of the public health permit and notice to performers regarding condom use.

— The measure would authorize the Department to enforce the provisions of the ordinance, including suspending or revoking the public health permit for violating the ordinance, or any other law, following notice and an opportunity for an administrative review. Prior notice would not be required if any immediate danger to the public and safety is found or reasonably suspected. Violation of the ordinance would be subject to civil fines and/or criminal misdemeanor charges.

— The measure would provide that in the event another ballot measure relating to the permits for the adult film industry appears on the same ballot, that this measure shall prevail if it receives the greater number of affirmative votes, and the competing measure shall be null and void.

— The measure authorizes the Board of Supervisors to amend the chapter by ordinance, passed by a majority vote, in order to further its purposes. The chapter may only be repealed by ordinance adopted by a vote of the electors or by an amendment of the Los Angeles County Charter superseding the ordinance.

— The measure provides that if any part of the ordinance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, then remaining provisions shall be severable and remain in full force and effect.

Background on AHF’s Adult Film Worker Safety Efforts and STD Infections in the Industry

AHF’s move to spearhead this ballot initiative was prompted by two outbreaks of HIV in the industry and an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in California’s adult film industry. As part of its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films, AHF has undertaken high profile advocacy efforts directly targeting the industry, including key players like Hustler’s founder Larry Flynt and Vivid Entertainment’s Steve Hirsch; it has also publicly pressed Los Angeles County political and health officials to comply with the law as far as legal reporting of HIV and STD cases–including those found among performers in the industry–and to require the use of condoms on film sets in Los Angeles.

In addition, multiple organizations committed to protecting the public health have called for mandatory use of condoms in the production of adult films, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the California Conference of Local AIDS Directors, the California STD Controllers Association, the National Coalition of STD Directors, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the California Medical Association.

STDs in the Adult Film Industry in Los Angeles County

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at large. LADPH documented 2,013 individual cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between the years 2003 and 2007. In the period April 2004 to March 2008 there have been 2,847 STD infections diagnosed among 1,884 performers in the adult industry in LA County. LADPH has also observed that many workers suffer multiple infections, with some performers having four or more separate infections over the course of a year. In addition, LADPH has stated that as many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004. County health officials attribute the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the porn industry to a lack of protective equipment for partners, including condoms. The agency recommends condoms be used during production, but has never taken steps to ensure their use, or to protect the performers who are essentially required to endanger their health in order to remain employed.

“This is not just about one industry, but about our entire community, as the spread of disease among adult film performers endangers themselves as well as their sexual partners in and outside the industry,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “This is why we are bringing the question directly to voters here in Los Angeles.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US’ largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 166,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia Pacific Region and Eastern Europe.


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