AHF Files for Calif. Porn-Condom Ballot Initiative

Jan 12, 2015 6:07 PM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has proposed a new California initiative that, if enacted, would make condoms mandatory on the porn set, require adult filmmakers to be licensed and subject them to additional record-keeping requirements.  

The AHF's proposal, titled "The California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act," was sent to the Attorney General's office last week so that enough signatures would be gathered for it to be listed on a statewide ballot. The AHF is aiming for the measure to be placed on the November 2016 ballot, coinciding with the presidential election.

The AHF initiative said that it seeks a Jan. 1, 2018, startup of the regulations if voters approve the proposed measure. 

The statewide initiative, if passed by voters, would hold liable "individuals and entities with a financial interest in the making or distribution of adult films who violate" the proposal.

The initiative further would subject producers to fines of up to $50,000 in civil awards for performers who have suffered economically for non-compliance. Those performers also would be entitled to bring class-action suits against similarly situated adult film performers.

Producers, according to the measure's language, would be forced to disclose in writing dates and places of all shoots in California within 10 days, and they would have to pay a license fee of $100 valid for two years.

The initiative, which would create fines of up to $30,000 in some cases for violators, also would enable whistleblowers, such as individuals or the AHF, to pursue violators and extend the time in which they can be legally pursued under the proposed statute.

AHF President Michael Weinstein, whose organization has been pressing the porn-condom issue for the past 11 years with some success in Measure B (the Los Angeles County ordinance that was passed by voters and later appealed unsuccessfully by plaintiffs Vivid Entertainment and two performers), earlier this year said he would charge on despite being defeated in several attempts at California's Legislature.

The initiative's language said that condoms, barriers or other personal protective equipment need not be visible in the final film product; however, "there shall be rebuttable presumption that any adult film without visible condoms that is distributed for commercial purpose in the state of California by any means was produced in violation of this section," the AHF's initiative said.

Weinstein's group, which submitted a $200 application fee with its current state petition, now must collect enough signatures for a place on the ballot. But before initiative proponents may gather signatures, the Attorney General prepares an official title and summary for the proposed law.

The California Legislative Analyst's Office first submits a report on its estimated fiscal effects. It has 25 working days after receiving the final version of the proposed measure to prepare its report, and the state Attorney General has 15 days after receiving these fiscal estimates to write its title and summary.

In California, the AHF would need signatures from five percent of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor for it to move forward to the ballot. That number is estimated to be about 500,000.

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