AHF Now Plans Countywide Porn-Condom Ballot Measure

Jan 2, 2012 10:00 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation plans to collect enough signatures to qualify a ballot measure to make condoms mandatory at porn shoots countywide.

The AHF will begin circulating petitions Tuesday asking Los Angeles County voters to require porn performers to wear condoms during filming.  

The group qualified last month for a similar ballot measure in the city of Los Angeles, but that initiative still faces a legal hurdle with the City Attorney, which has sued the AHF and seeks an injunction over the measure.

The move to go countywide would dramatically expand AHF's mandatory-condom proposal's reach. Los Angeles County covers some 4,000 square miles and is home to over a quarter of all California residents, including the city of Los Angeles.

To qualify for the countywide November election, the AHF needs more than 200,000 signatures by June 5.

Under the latest proposal released Monday, porn producers would have to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and pay a permit fee" to fund enforcement.   

The proposed ballot measure is modeled on similar health permits for tattoo shops, massage parlors and bathhouses.

The county would be authorized to revoke health permits of film producers violating the ordinance, and violations could result in civil fines or misdemeanor charges.

The move to go countywide with the measure appears to be a natural step for the AHF, which plans to announce its next step at a press conference Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Van Nuys office of county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

According to AHF President Michael Weinstein, the county Board of Supervisors has refused to take action against the hundreds of porn producers that shoot in Porn Valley and elsewhere.

Yaroslavsky has previously said it is the jurisdiction of the state of California, not the county, that should enforce workplace laws, according to Weinstein.

The city of Los Angeles' suit said that the initiative is preempted by state law, specifically California Labor Section 144.7, which mandates the use of barrier protection in the workplace when employees are exposed to blood borne pathogens and that Cal/OSHA has exclusive jurisdiction over the issue.

The City Attorney's office seeks declaratory relief to determine validity of the proposed initiative measure and said it was necessary to present a pre-election legal action  because a post-election determination "that a measure is illegal would undermine the public trust." That ballot measure was slated for June, pending a ruling by a judge that is slated for this month.

Meanwhile, the Free Speech Coalition, the adult entertainment trade group, has come out against the AHF's porn-condom proposals in the past.

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke previously said that "history has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work."

 “The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs is by providing quality information and sexual health service, all of which are successfully provided through adult industry protocols and best practices,” Duke previously told XBIZ. 

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