AB 332 Approved by Committee, Moves Forward

Apr 24, 2013 4:30 PM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —The state Legislature's Labor and Employment committee approved Assembly Bill 332 this afternoon at a hearing at the state Capitol.

After more than a half an hour of testimony, the bill went on to a vote where it stalled and was put "on call" because there weren't enough votes cast.  By 5 p.m. today, the committee had all the votes needed to move the piece of legislation forward. It moved on with a 5-0 vote.

The bill will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration. With approval, AB 322 then would be voted on by the full Assembly. Pending approval by the full Assembly, the bill will be referred to the Senate and go through a similar policy and fiscal review process. If passed, AB 332 would be effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The Labor and Employment committee is comprised of Assembly members  Roger Hernandez, Mike Morrell, Jimmy Gomez, Chris Holden, Luis Alejo and Ed Chau.

Alejo and Chau were not present at the initial hearing, but voted for the bill before the meeting adjourned.   

AB 332 essentially mimics Measure B, which requires condom use for porn shoots in Los Angeles County; but differs crucially by making it a statewide mandate.

Sex worker advocate and former adult performer Lydia Lee and Lorenzo Marr, who owns a location studio, among others, argued against AB 332, which essentially mimics L.A. County's Measure B and would require condom use for porn shoots statewide.

Lee and Marr cited the economic loss California will suffer should AB 332 and its identical cohorts in other counties and cities should it pass. Marr told the committee that his adult studio’s bookings “have drastically plunged as adult productions move outside L.A. County.”

“I also wonder how a state can give the boot to an industry that generates an estimated five to six billion dollars in revenue a year when it is financially starving,” Marr said.

Lee noted the voluntary initiative the industry took by requiring top-of-the-line STD tests for all performers and the fact that Cal/OSHA is currently developing safety standards tailored for the adult business. She also discussed the issue of female will in the adult industry and its bearing on the bill.

“Frankly one of the most frustrating things about this bill is that everyone wants to speak for women in the adult film industry,” Lee said. “Two weeks ago the author of this bill made an impassioned speech in committee stating that the Legislature needs to protect the women in the industry who cannot protect themselves. And I am quite frankly tired of being compared to an animal in a mainstream movie. I am an adult and I can consent, and let me be clear: no one in this industry is forced to work in this industry.”

Supporters of the bill made the argument that requiring condoms in the porn industry was a minimum form of safety, and made analogies to safety measures in widely varied professions.

Kink.com and Hot House Entertainment staff as well as other industry supporters, trekked to the Capitol to state their opposition on the bill.

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