FSC Reports 'Tremendous Success' at Lobbying Day Event

Anne Winter
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Adult industry members returned to Porn Valley proudly after meeting with lawmakers Monday to discuss a proposed "sin" tax, a gathering that the Free Speech Coalition calls a "tremendous success."

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke told XBIZ that it was a wonderful day, and that after talking with members of Congress, she doesn't think that Assembly Bill 1551 — which would tax the sale, storage, use or other consumption of all adult products in the state — is going to go anywhere.

"The Republicans said no new taxes," Duke said, "and we talked to them about keeping their promise." She added that the bill has "a snowball's chance in hell" of being passed.

Duke said that the "secondary effects" discussions were the most satisfying talks that took place during the lobbying event. Adult bookstore and cabaret owners also were on hand to defend their businesses, emphasizing the lack of concrete evidence that adult businesses are detrimental to the property value and overall safety of neighborhoods.

"People believe that adult entertainment [workers] are filthy rich, and that a tax won't mean anything to them," Duke said.

She emphasized that the industry can easily move to another state, which would be detrimental to the state economy and to the 50,000-plus people that the adult industry employs.

Assemblyman Calderon told us that it wasn't anything personal against the industry," Duke said. "We told him that it doesn't get more personal than the threat of losing one's livelihood."

Duke said she invited Assemblyman Chuck Calderon, D-Whittier, to attend the final meeting at the event, and to her surprise, he showed up and discussed the bill with Duke; FSC's California lobbyist Matt Gray; LFP Marketing Director Theresa Flynt; Joy King, vice president of special projects at Wicked Pictures; and adult industry lawyer Michael Fattorosi.

"A group of wonderful people sat around him, hitting him over and over again [with questions]," Duke said. "I have a tremendous respect for him; he knew what he was getting into [by showing up]."

Duke said she was also pleased at the number of adult stars who attended the lobbying event.

"It was wonderful to have incredibly articulate women there talking about their experience in adult," Duke said.

Duke hopes the lobbying event further worked to debunk myths about the adult industry and is now working to obtain the information Calderon and his bill's supporters are using to base their secondary effects argument.