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Leslie Bill would require tough adult testing

According to Jeffrey Douglas, Rep. Tim Leslie last week not only refused to meet with the Free Speech Coalition, Leslie apparently denied existence of a bill that’s being voted on today. If the industry doesn’t think that it’s going to be dealt from the bottom of the deck, think again.

SACRAMENTO — The state would require testing of adult film performers for sexually transmitted diseases every two weeks under a bill that will be discussed today in a legislative committee.

The bill, by Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Roseville, would require the testing for a full range of diseases before a performer begins work on an adult film and every two weeks while the performer remains active.

Currently the industry attempts to regulate itself by requiring performers to get tested every 30 days, although that is not a legal mandate.

“It’s too long of a period,” Leslie said. “Too much can happen. These people can perform 15 to 20 movies in a single month. Some of them are multiple orgies. This needs to be narrowed down and confined to a shorter period to protect more people.”

The bill also makes it easier for performers to sue if they become infected because of another performer falsifying test results. Leslie said he may look into requiring the use of condoms in adult films, as well.

The bill follows a new HIV scare in the industry, as three performers have recently tested positive, although Leslie said he was working on the bill before the announcements.

Representatives of the adult film industry said the legislation was based on an ignorance of the industry and its current health practices, and said Leslie refused to meet with them when crafting the bill.

Jeffrey Douglas, chairman of the Free Speech Coalition, said that when members of his industry group visited Sacramento last week for their annual lobbying trip, Leslie and his staff refused to meet with them and denied he had plans for any bill to regulate the industry.

Douglas said the bill appears to be based on inaccurate information about current testing procedures, and could potentially even result in a lower standard of testing.

For example, he said, the bill is vague when it discusses what type of testing should be used, referring only to whatever is a common test. But Douglas said the industry uses a faster and more accurate test than what is more commonly used in the general population. But even that test usually takes about 30 days to produce results.

“It’s always a bad idea to attempt to regulate an industry or an activity without knowledge of what you’re attempting to regulate,” Douglas said.

Sharon Mitchell, director of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, said the bill is “poorly put together.”

“The medical language of it makes no sense,” Mitchell said. “To test people every two weeks is counterproductive. The type of testing we do is so far advanced from what he’s written it’s ridiculous. It’s headline politicking and it’s very bad.”

Michael Ross, a policy director of the California Alliance for Consumer Protection, said his group supports the bill on behalf of consumers of adult films.

“What we’re afraid of is that everybody gets scared out of working in the industry and as a result, no more movies are made,” Ross said.

The Assembly Health Committee is scheduled to consider the bill, AB 2798, at 1:30 p.m. today in the Capitol, Room 4202.



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