Free Speech Coalition Goes to Sacramento for Lobbying Days

Joanne Cachapero
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A delegation from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) traveled to Sacramento today to take part in the 11th annual “Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days.” The trade advocacy group represents the legal and political interests of the adult industry.

This year, industry members and representatives from the FSC will argue against newly amended AB 2914 (Calderon), which seeks to tax the adult entertainment industry at an additional 8 percent, claiming the presence of negative secondary effects. The revenue produced by the bill would allegedly go to fund resources for anticrime organizations and women’s shelters, which implies that the adult industry may be responsible for having negative societal effects.

In reality, the FSC believes that the revenue would go to offset the state’s budget deficit.

“Assembly Member [Charles] Calderon is mistaken if he thinks he can push this highly destructive bill through without a fight,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “A tax on adult entertainment was just found unconstitutional in the state of Texas; we are certainly not going to stand for this in California.”

Duke was referring to a tax imposed on Texas gentlemen’s club operators, which was recently struck down in state district court as unconstitutional. The ruling is currently under appeal.

The proposed tax was on the agenda at last year’s lobbying days, as well. At that time, Duke pointed out that the tax would make an increasingly competitive business climate even more difficult by singling out the adult industry.

“Like the motion picture industry, we have to compete against overseas competition which pirates our products and sells them over the Internet,” Duke said. “More than 50,000 people are employed by the industry in California. Do we really want to compromise those jobs?”

Adult industry members that have taken part in previous Lobbying Days include performer Nina Hartley, Hustler/LFP’s Theresa Flynt, Wicked Picture’s Joy King, Wicked contract star Jessica Drake, performer Mary Carey, attorney Gil Sperlein from Titan Media and performer Dave Cummings, among others.

“This is always a great opportunity for our legislators to see the real face of the adult entertainment industry,” FSC Lobbyist Matt Gray said. “They learn just how vital the adult entertainment industry is to the state of California.”

FSC representatives will take part also in the Free Speech Legislation Reception with lawmakers and staff.