So, What Is the Los Angeles County Condom Initiative, and What Happens if It’s Passed?

Earlier this year, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) spent an estimated $2 million on paid signature gatherers to get a mandatory condom initiative for adult productions on the ballot. Their efforts were successful, and on LA County’s 2012 November ballot voters will have the option of voting on this misguided ballot measure. The ballot measure goes FAR beyond just requiring condoms for adult productions.

If this ballot measure passes, producers (defined as any entity that produces, finances or directs adult films) will be required to:

  • Obtain a public health permit from LA County Department of Public Health (LADPH).
  • Pay a permit fee set by the LADPH sufficient to cover the cost of enforcement – LADPH has estimated permit costs for producers of $12,000-$60,000/permit annually. (Note: This figure only includes the cost of permitting and does not include enforcement personnel and related costs so the actual fees will be much higher).
  • Have a company Exposure Control Plan that complies with Title 8 California Code of Regulations section 3203 and 5193 – the same plan medical clinics have to follow for blood-borne pathogens – with goggles, gloves, lab coats and other barrier protection.
  • County health officers may inspect any location without notice, as often as they would like. Permits can be revoked for failing to comply with LA County code or any of the CalOSHA’s bloodborne pathogen requirements. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or six months in the County jail, or both.

The “Safer Sex” Ballot Measure is a Bad Idea

It won’t workhistory has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work.  The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs is by providing quality information and sexual health services.

Government cannot compel an industry to create a product for which there is little to no demand.Demand for non-condom movies drives the market, which is distributed worldwide. An industry based in LA County will not be able to survive when competition from other states and countries can provide the product the consumer wants, while LA producers are prohibited from supplying what is in demand.

It will take jobs and revenue out of California – the adult industry in California employs many thousands of individuals, as well as ancillary businesses and services. It creates a “made in the USA” product that can only be “outsourced” if producers are driven out of state. Large and small adult industry businesses also pay millions in taxes, which benefit local communities.

It will hurt performers – If condoms were mandatory existing testing protocols would likely disappear. The protocols that are in place are here to protect the performers and successfully do so. The California adult production industry is one of the most regulated; if producers are forced into other areas or to go “underground,” it will make it difficult – if not impossible – to impose existing industry standards for performer testing and health & safety protocols, which have been proven to be effective in preventing the incidence of STIs.

It will hurt the Los Angeles economyIf the ballot measure passes many producers will likely leave the area and take their taxes and jobs with them. The industry has been approached by leaders in other states offering tax incentives for us to move there.

It will waste valuable resources - HIV funding in LA has already been significantly reduced.  Diverting valuable dollars from existing programs to this program will only hurt those already infected with HIV and will reduce the resources to prevent others from contracting the disease.

The County can’t afford this regulation – fees charged will in no way cover the extensive bureaucracy that will have to be created to implement this regulation. With massive cutbacks in county resources, tax dollars going for “condom police” when there have been no transmissions of HIV onset nationwide in eight years is a serious waste of valuable resources.

Despite outrageous claims, flawed data and misinformation generated by AHF, forcing a condom mandate on the adult production industry is dangerous grandstanding on AHF’s part. This campaign by AHF also is not in line with their supposed mission to help low income HIV patients with access to services and medication. In communities where HIV rates are increasing, studies show that this may be due to lack of outreach and education, which can be directly tied to lack of state and county funding for HIV programs.

Now, AHF – with its $187 million dollar annual budget – wants taxpayers to spend their scarce funds to force government agencies to regulate an industry that has successfully (and voluntarily) implemented health & safety protocols that have been effective for more than a decade.

Free Speech Coalition asks its members, other industry members, the local business community and the citizens of Los Angeles County to oppose the condom initiative on the ballot in November. For more information on the condom issue, or to help us say “NO” to this misguided, unwarranted proposed legislation, please contact info@freespeechcoalition.com.

(Photo: Courtesy of NASA)

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