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Huffington Post Looks at Gattogate; Gatto Says It Ain’t Me

from www.huffingtonpost.com – An AIDS activist group is targeting a San Fernando Valley assemblyman, claiming he is blocking efforts to pass a bill that would require the use of condoms in all porn productions statewide.

The lawmaker, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, however, says the bill in question isn’t even before the Assembly at the moment.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a group that supports AB 640, called Gatto “a pornographer’s best friend,” and said the Assemblyman is standing in the way of the bill’s passage.

“What this comes down to is one man who is preventing this from coming to the vote,” said AHF president Michael Weinstein “He’s serving the interests of the pornographers.”

As a result, AHF says it plans to make robo-calls to 100,000 residents in the Democrat’s San Fernando Valley district this weekend.

“There is still time to move the bill if Assemblyman Gatto will move out of the way,” Weinstein said.

An earlier version of the bill, AB 332, died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee that Gatto chairs. But AB 640, which echoes the same goals, is in the Senate right now, leading Gatto to question why he is being targeted.

“I have not made any decisions,” Gatto said. “We’re really not quite sure what they are talking about. It’s clear they are trying to engage in some public brow beating. It’s before the Senate. It’s not before me.”

The earlier bill, also authored by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, sought to build upon the Los Angeles County measure passed by voters last year that requires porn actors to use condoms while filming within the county. When in died in Appropriations, Gatto and several other members cited constitutional concerns and the cost of fighting expected legal challenges.

AHF introduced and supported the L.A. County Measure B — the “Safer Sex Initiative” — last year, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases spreading from the industry to the mainstream public. Voters passed the measure in November. Other jurisdictions, such as Ventura County and Simi Valley, later passed similar ordinances, in part out of concerns over porn companies relocating to their areas.

But performers have said self-regulation — which requires porn actors to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases every 15 to 30 days — works well and has caught sexually transmitted diseases before actors show up on sets. Once an actor has completed testing, his or her name is entered into a confidential database, viewed only by directors on sets. Performers also fear that the industry will move underground to avoid government regulation, which could place actors and actresses at risk from those who avoid getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Two performers who are dating each other came forward in the last three weeks, saying they have tested positive for HIV. Kink.com studios in San Francisco, where one performer, Cameron Bay last worked, is under investigation by the state.

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