AB 1576 Passes Calif. Senate Labor Panel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California state Senate and Labor Relation panel this afternoon passed AB 1576, the bill that would mandate condom use on all adult productions shot in California.

The vote received the three necessary "aye" votes to pass the five-person panel comprised of comprising Sens. Ben Hueso, Mark Wyland, Mark Leno, Holly Mitchell and Alex Padilla. After remaining "on call" for more than an hour, Sen. Padilla voted in favor of the bill. 

Sen. Mark Leno voted against the bill, explaining that as a gay man, who experienced first-hand the rise of the HIV epidemic, and who even lost a life partner to the disease, that he is well-connected to HIV treatment and outreach groups in San Francisco — and that they reject the legislation.

"I believe that Assemblymember Hall has introduced this bill ... with every great intention," Leno said."The concerns that have been raised with regard to protecting the privacy of these actors, the apparently overwhelming opposition to the bill by those who work in the industry, concerns with regard to mandatory HIV testing, all leave me a little uncertain as to whether this is the right way to go."

He added, “Those that I’ve worked with in the [San Francisco HIV treatment, prevention] community for the past three decades, the organizations that started at the time ... are not in support of this bill. They’ve remained publicly silent though I’ve had some conversations with a number of them from organizations [that deal with] treatment, prevention, advocacy for treatment groups, and they have reservations about this."

Sen. Holly Mitchell voiced unique reservations, suggesting that the public health officials affiliated with the bill (unnamed but most likely AHF) is failing to see the “new face of AIDS,” which disproportionately affects African American women.

Though Mitchell stated that she did not know the demographic breakdown of the adult entertainment industry, it disproportionately employs white women. “We need to broaden the conversation,” Mitchell said in her closing statement.

Despite her call for a more modern perspective on HIV and AIDS by the bill's proponents, Mitchell cast her vote in favor of AB 1576.

The usual suspects emerged to give their two cents:bill sponsor Assemblymember Isadore Hall, AHF lobbyist Rand Martin, HIV-positive former performers Cameron Bay and Rod Daily spoke in support of the bill. Veteran performer Lorelei Lee and FSC CEO Diane Duke primarily spoke in opposition.

However, the previously silent third HIV-infected performer from last year, Sophia Delgado, came forward publicly for the first time in favor of AB 1576. 

Hall invoked his signature trope of striving to place worker safety above profit-driven decisions. He also pointed out that, pertinent to the legislation at hand, adult performer Mr. Marcus was fined $130,000 and sentenced to a few months of jail time for exposing a woman to syphilis onset. 

"We had a witness here today, Cameron Bay, who very clearly stated that she tested negative, and still had HIV while performing on the set," Hall said. "...She’s really a person, she’s present and she’s telling you it’s happened. Mr. Marcus is a real person, the LA Times didn’t just make up a story. This is the reality of what happens, and it’s time that we start putting worker safety in front of profit in California."

The Senate Labor Relation panel hears bills relating to labor, industrial safety, unemployment, workers' compensation and insurance and noncertificated public school employees.

The bill will now head to Senate Appropriations Committee for further action. According to Hall's press secretary Terry Schanz, there is no set hearing date as of yet, but it will take place in August.

AB 1576 requires a minimum 14-day employer paid testing protocol and use of a condom or barrier device in the production of adult film. The bill also mandates that porn production companies keep confidential employee health records indefinitely, use "plastic and other disposable materials" to clean sets, and provide all employees with a safety training program.