Calif. Porn-Condom Bill Dead for Session
SACRAMENTO — AB 640, the bill that would require adult film performers to use condoms in adult film productions shot anywhere in California, wasn’t heard or voted on Thursday evening in the Senate, effectively ending the threat of a statewide porn-condom law for now.
The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, earlier Thursday anticipated that the bill would be heard and voted on in the waning hours of the Legislature's term despite the fact that it wasn't on the roster of bills scheduled to be heard and voted on.
Much of the evening in the Legislature was devoted to issues such as hiking the minimum wage and introducing drivers license options for illegal immigrants.
The Legislature's session ended minutes after midnight and business was adjourned until 2014.
Normally, Friday would be a marathon day with lawmakers debating bills until midnight. But Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, starts at sundown, so lawmakers were pushing hard to wrap up earlier.
Early Friday morning, Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coaltion, told XBIZ that "the bill was a bad solution in search of a problem."
"The testing protocols we have in place work as proven from our track record of no transmission of HIV on set in nine years — nationwide," she said.
"A number of people put forth a great deal of effort, to make sure this dishonest and destructive bill would not see the light of day," Duke said. "From our coalition partners to the countless industry members who showed up in Sacramento, we owe you all a debt of grattitude. This was truly a team effort, thank you."
The bill, authored by Hall, a Democrat from Compton, couldn't get an earlier version of the bill passed this legislative session despite his warnings about the public health risks of condom-less porn shoots.
But with new cases of HIV-positive adult performers surfacing, Hall "gut and amended" AB 640, previously a tobacco bill, and put it on the fast track as an "urgency" bill because he believes that condom-less productions pose an "imminent threat to public health."
AB 640, an act to add Section 6720 to the Labor Code, ended up in lawmakers hands after AB 332 got stalled last May. The bill would make condoms mandatory for performers in all porn shoots, as well as occupational training for production staff.
AB 332, also authored by Hall, followed the passage of the Los Angeles “Safer Sex” ordinance for adult production known as Measure B, which is the subject of an ongoing court battle involving Vivid Entertainment and interveners in the suit, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The AHF, which backed both AB 640 and AB 332 and sponsored Measure B, has been critical of the industry's stance over condoms since as early as 2004 and has mounted numerous public campaigns for laws making condoms mandatory for all productions.
It also has lodged numerous complaints with authorities, including one against one of California's largest studios just recently.
The AHF filed a notice of alleged safety or health hazards against Kink.com with Cal/OSHA, alleging adult film employees were exposed to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials in the film "Public Disgrace: Big Titted Reality TV Star Ass Fucked in Public."
The filing said that performer Cameron Bay tested positive for HIV as early as Aug. 19 and during the making of the film, she "engaged in acts considered high-risk for the transmission of HIV, including multiple sex partners and acts resulting in trauma to vaginal, oral, and anal mucosa. Additionally, a large group estimated at 10-12 individuals, including production staff, are likely to have been exposed."
Bay was the first adult performer to test HIV-positive in the adult entertainment community's latest STI scare. Later, performer Rod Daily, who she was romantically involved with, admitted he was HIV-positive as well.
Last Friday, the Free Speech Coalition announced that another performer had tested positive for HIV.
And on Monday, the AHF announced that a fourth performer tested positive. The AHF's announcement on a fourth performer, however, faces questions by the FSC, which doubts that a new HIV case has surfaced.
"There is no proof there is a No. 4," Duke told XBIZ.
XBIZ requests for more information from the AHF about No. 4 have not been returned.
Meanwhile, Peter Acworth, Kink.com's founder, says the system in place for performer testing in reality is as good as it gets and that there is no proof that the performers were infected on the set.
Kink already mandates condoms for its gay porn and performers on the straight side of the business have to get tested, with negative results, every 28 days.
"There hasn't been an on-set transmission of HIV since 2004, so it seems to me the testing approach works," he told the San Francisco Chronicle this week.