Schwarzenegger Signs Bill Sponsored by The Free Speech Coalition

Gretchen Gallen
CHATSWORTH, Calif. – After rallying for a bill that could potentially protect adult business owners during federal investigations, the Free Speech Coalition had cause to celebrate this week after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed pro adult business measure AB1894 into law.

Originally scribed by Al Gelbard, a First Amendment lawyer, and then later picked up for sponsorship by the FSC, the bill was authored by Assemblyman John Longville (D-San Bernardino) and lends protective measures to business owners whose records have been seized during an investigation.

According to the terms of AB1894, business owners can now obtain copies of all files confiscated by authorities in order to maintain normal business functions during an investigative process, which in some cases can take years.

“Many members of the adult entertainment community are small business owners who may suffer extreme financial setbacks if their business records are seized and held for an extended period," stated Kat Sunlove, interim executive director for FSC. "Often no charges are even filed and yet the business can be devastated by such a seizure. We believe that AB1894 will help alleviate this problem.”

According to Sunlove, the bill has been winding its way through the legislature since 2003. Despite gaining strong support from lawmakers, former Governor Davis vetoed the measure claiming he didn't want to provide any added protections to "pornographers."

The bill was re-introduced this year and was again supported by a wide swath of business owners and advocates, including the Attorney General, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Retailers Association, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Food and Beverage Association of San Diego, according to Sunlove.

“We are grateful to Assemblymember Longville for carrying this important bill and we are proud of our role in getting this legislation into law,” stated Sunlove.