AB 1576's Fate Is Uncertain; L.A. Porn Film Permits Dip
CANOGA PARK, Calif. — There will be no testimony next time the state Senate Appropriations Committee meets to determine whether AB 1576 moves forward.
The porn-condom bill could be set for a roll call vote that will determine its fate on Aug. 14, bookended by scores of other bills that were dumped in the "suspense file" — typically pieces of legislation that go past the tipping point in terms of cost. Or the bill could stay in "suspense" and expire.
Diane Duke, CEO of the adult trade organization Free Speech Coalition, told XBIZ today that she was proud of Monday's turnout of about three dozen adult entertainment performers and support staff at the state Capitol, as well as those who provided testimony against the bill.
Performer "Lorelei Lei did a remarkable job again; she talked so eloquently," Duke said. "And we were joined and supported by other local AIDS groups that illustrated to the committee that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has their own agenda with pushing AB 1576."
Lei, who brought 650 signed petitions from those in the adult entertainment industry in support of shooting down the piece of legislation, told the seven panelists on the Appropriations committee, that the "proponents of the bill fail to understand the negative impact that this bill puts on our lives and fail to acknowledge that the will of the performers matters most."
"Our voices and concerns are more important than the politicians who are trying to pass the bill," Lei told the panel.
The author of the bill, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, however, said in closing that the bill is about "giving protection for those who can't help themselves" and that there is a "problem," despite the reported fact that the total number of confirmed cases of on-set HIV transmission over the last decade is zero.
"How many people must come up here every other week and describe how their lives have been drastically impacted ... and turned upside down?" he asked. "We have a responsibility to protect workers, regardless of industry, all throughout the state of California."
Duke said that she's not sure what will happen next week over the bill, but the FSC's leader said that the message is clearing up for most legislators and the mainstream community — the bill is not workable and would be a big liability for taxpayers.
"We were very thankful that the Los Angeles Times' op-ed by Jim Newton came out on the eve of the hearing," she said.
In the column, published Sunday online and in the print edition on Monday, Newton said called Measure B a "misadventure” and that AB 1576 doesn't make sense.
Jeffrey Douglas, an industry attorney and FSC board chair, told XBIZ that Monday's hearing was seen as a victory for the adult biz.
"One way or another, congratulations are in order for winning this battle," he said. "The war carries on, of course."
In related news Tuesday, FilmLA released its latest statistics on adult film production in Los Angeles County through July 2014, and the numbers were thin, again.
Permits issued for porn productions has declined since November 2012, when voters approved a measure that requires performers to wear condoms on sets.
"Looking just at film permits containing county Measure B-compliant language (regarding non simulated sex), there have been 20 such permits released by our office between Jan. 1, 2014, and July 29, 2014," FilmLA's Danielle Walker told XBIZ. "We don't have a comparison figure for 2013 for exactly the same period, but ... in all of 2013 we released 40 permits for adult filming."
With Los Angeles County's Measure B in effect but not enforced, and with AB 1576 being weighed by state lawmakers, porn producers have taken their business elsewhere, including out of county and Nevada, Arizona and Florida, as well as Europe.