In Editorial, Calif. Papers Call Prop 60 'Overreach'

Sep 12, 2016 10:46 AM PST

FRESNO, Calif. — The Fresno Bee and Sacramento Bee, in an editorial published today, called Proposition 60’s intentions “overreach” and further told readers that California is not ready for a law that would offer bounties and invite frivolous lawsuits.

The editorial excoriating Prop 60 said that if the initiative wins and Cal/OSHA declined to pursue a reported violation within 21 days, finger pointers such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the initiative’s chief sponsor, could file a civil suit against anyone with a financial stake in the production and take a cut of the proceeds.

Both papers are jointly owned by the McClatchey Co.

“In such a case, [AHF’s Michael] Weinstein would be sworn in as a state employee with standing to defend the initiative himself, and he couldn’t be fired without a majority vote of both legislative houses,” the editorial said. “Oh, and the taxpayers would be on the hook for his legal expenses.

“Other proponents don’t write state jobs for themselves into their measures.”

If passed in November, Prop 60 would require performers in adult films to use condoms during production. It also would require producers to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical examinations related to STIs and require them to obtain state health license and to post condom requirement at film sites.

In addition, Prop 60 would impose liability on producers for violations, on certain distributors, on performers if they have a financial interest in the film involved and on talent agents who knowingly refer performers to noncomplying producers.

As part of its reasoning to oppose Prop 60, the Bee called the initiative “well-meaning, but so litigious that even sympathizers are unsettled. Most mainstream AIDS organizations and both major political parties in California oppose it.”

The Bee reminded readers that there have been rules mandating protection against bloodborne pathogens on adult film sets in California since 1992, and that there have been recent attempts to update safety regs. It also noted that Cal/OSHA has made successful attempts to cite rule-breakers and levy fines.

But it also warned that consequences of the initiative passing could place many in jeopardy.

“[A]n all-out war, in the courts and by the state, on an industry that operates at the fringe could drive performers further underground and make them less safe,” the Bee’s editorial board wrote. “It has been 12 years since a new HIV/AIDS case was documented on a porn set, and new cases in general in California have been declining for 15 years.”

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