Assemblymember Isadore Hall Reintroduces Condom Legislation as AB 1576

January 31, 2014

320px-California_Capitol,_Sacramento,_CaliforniaFree Speech Coalition (FSC) has learned today new legislation that would mandate barrier protection for adult performers was introduce to the California Assembly by Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D – Compton).

The new bill is called AB 1576 and was introduced prior to the deadline for new bills to reach the assembly. This is the third time that Assemblymember Hall has attempted to push through mandatory barrier protection; in 2013, he sponsored both AB 332 and 640 in unsuccessful bids to legislate condom use in the adult production industry.

“This measure will further drive production out of state and create severe hardships for ancillary businesses,” said FSC CEO Diane Duke. “Last year, we were able to defeat AB 332 and 640 by going to Sacramento to lobby. It made a big difference for legislators to see people show up to protest those bills. When we go there again, to fight AB 1576, we will really need the assistance of everyone in the industry – our livelihood in California is at stake.”

The primary advocate for mandatory condom regulations is nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has supported Hall’s campaigns to have the bills passed into law. This latest attempt to mandate barrier protection usage is the latest development in AHF’s nearly ten-year long campaign to force legislation on the adult industry.


Film Permits for Adult Production Plummet in Los Angeles

November 15, 2013

no-on-measure-b2‘Measure B’ condom law blamed for over $450,000 in lost permitting revenue as shoots, jobs move out of state

According to information from film permitting agency FilmLA, only 24 permits for adult film productions in Los Angeles County have been filed as of their last report in 2013. That number is down significantly from approximately 480 permits filed by this time last year and prior to last November’s passage of Measure B , L.A. County’s controversial condom mandate for adult film productions.

This means that, at an average cost of $1,000 in fees for each permit, L.A. County has lost approximately $456,000 in revenue. Added to this loss, L.A. County is also involved in a costly lawsuit challenging Measure B, which is currently on appeal. And, if the Measure B regulations were implemented, this would mean that L.A. taxpayers would be obligated to pay for a new local agency to serve as “condom inspectors” on adult production sets – an expensive proposition overall.

“We predicted that lost jobs and revenue would be one of the results of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) misguided attempts to police the adult industry,” said Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke. “As a result of the passage of Measure B, hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees have gone elsewhere — and that does not take into consideration the jobs and vendor revenues that have followed the productions out of LA County and for some companies, out of the state of California entirely.”


Free Speech Coalition Applauds AHF Employees Protesting Working Conditions

September 27, 2013

more_protesters_AHF_rallyWhile the non-profit AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) leadership under founder and executive director Michael Weinstein continues a self-aggrandizing publicity tour attacking the adult film industry, his own doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners staged a protest today at AHF offices over poor working conditions and understaffing that has put patients at greater risk.

“Michael Weinstein has been crusading against the adult film industry while the patients under his care and the medical personnel working for him have suffered the brunt of his neglect as he seeks more publicity for himself,” said Diane Duke, chief executive officer for the Free Speech Coalition (FSC). “If Mr. Weinstein paid as much attention to caring for the doctors and nurses working for him and the patients under his supervision as he does every radio and TV appearance, the plight of AIDS patients in Los Angeles County might be much improved.”

The FSC has long maintained that the crusade by AHF and Weinstein against the adult film industry has come at a high price in terms of the care and level of services provided to AIDS patients, especially those from poor, minority communities where AIDS has been the most devastating, Duke said.

The protest by AHF physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants follows a July 31 vote to unionize in an effort to improve working conditions. Among the complaints cited by protesting medical personnel are:

  • Heavy handed policies on patient loads and quotas, some as high as 21 patients a day per doctor
  • A lack of Spanish-speaking translators for patients
  • Patient quota decisions being made by supervisors with no medical backgrounds
  • An increased focus on politics and advocacy while clinics see an increase in urgent-care patients

They allege that Weinstein and the organization’s involvement in politics – notably, AHF’s anti-adult industry mandatory condom campaign, as well as its initiative to create a new health department for the city of Los Angeles – have overrun AHF’s mission of caring for patients.

All of this comes in the wake of an audit in which Los Angeles County alleged AHF overbilled the Department of Public Health by $1.7 million in fiscal year 2008-09.

“The Free Speech Coalition has long maintained that Weinstein is more concerned about headlines than providing real care and like any large healthcare provider, making money and driving fundraising is a very real issue for him, which is why he has used a bogus health issue in condoms in filming to drive his media efforts,” Duke said. “It is clear there is no media interview Weinstein will turn down, but there are apparently plenty of patients that will have to wait longer for care at AHF facilities.”


AHF and Hall’s Mandatory Condom Bill AB640 Dead for This Session

September 13, 2013

bigstock-Condom-packages-18422987FSC is pleased to report that AB640, a bill into the California Legislature that would have mandated adult performers use condoms will not make it out of the 2013 Legislative session.

“Thankfully, science won over scare tactics.” said Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition. “Three performers did test positive for HIV in the past month, but none of them contracted it on an adult set. Politicians tried to use concern about HIV to push through a mandate opposed by both performers and producers. ”

AB 640 had originally been a tobacco bill, but was gutted and amended by Assembly Member Isadore Hall when his original mandatory condom bill, AB332, failed to pass out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“We need to make sure that performers are safe,” said Duke. “We have not had an on-set transmission of HIV in the adult industry in nine years, and we should always be vigilant. But this was a bad bill that would have made things worse.”

The bill rested in the Senate Rules Committee as the 2013 Session of the California State Senate came to a close just after midnight Friday morning.

“A number of people put forth a great deal of effort, to make sure this bill would not see the light of day,” Duke stated.  “From our coalition partners to the performers and countless industry members who showed up in Sacramento to protest, we owe you all a debt of gratitude.  This was truly a team effort, thank you.”


FSC Reports That Production Moratorium is Lifted

August 28, 2013

Anonymous_Camcorder copyThe FSC announced late Tuesday that the moratorium on adult filming has been lifted. A PASS (Performer Availability Screening Services—formerly APHSS) panel of three doctors met and confirmed the following:

  • All performers who worked with Cameron Bay have been tested and cleared
  • It is safe to lift the moratorium
  • August 19th is beyond the 2 week window date for the Aptima HIV test

Therefore, the following conditions are immediately in effect:

  • Any performer who tests clean after August 19th is safe and available to work
  • All test panels taken prior to August 19th are now expired on the PASS database
  • In the process of reviewing the case the PASS Medical Advisory Council agreed to, meet later this week to consider revising the minimum test requirement from 28 days to 14 days.

Special thanks to industry producers, directors, performers and agents for honoring the moratorium to ensure performer safety.

 

 

 


AB 332 Dies in Appropriations Committee

May 24, 2013

320px-US_Navy_060417-N-8157C-162_The_American_flag_flies_prominently_during_the_World_Patriot_Tour_performance_at_Hickam_Air_Force_BaseThe California Assembly Appropriations Committee today voted to stop Assembly Bill 332 from moving forward, effectively quashing any hopes for statewide mandated barrier protection use in adult film productions in California.

“We are grateful that lawmakers have chosen the best interest of California’s taxpayers and the adult industry over AB 332’s misguided legislation,” Free Speech Coalition (FSC) CEO Diane Duke said. “The adult industry creates a tremendous amount of revenue and jobs for California. We have effective, successful standards in place to protect performers. This ridiculous bill was a solution without a problem.”

The action comes after a years-long campaign waged by AIDS Healthcare Foundation to mandate condom use on adult productions in California. Adult industry companies, performers and professionals stood in strong opposition to AHF’s attempts to move the condom agenda forward. Currently, a local ordinance – the Los Angeles Safer Sex for Adult Productions, known as Measure B – is being challenged in federal court.

“We support choice for performers, as well as the successful testing system that has been in place since 1998, which have resulted in no on-set transmissions of HIV in nine years, nationwide” Duke added. “It is encouraging to see that legislators recognize the hard work that the adult industry has done to safeguard performers and that our hard work will not be lost to an unnecessary bureaucracy created from unnecessary legislation.”

FSC has spearheaded opposition to AB 332, Measure B and continues to oppose legislation that threatens the well-being of adult industry businesses and professionals. FSC also upholds industry-appropriate self-regulation that includes regular, frequent STD testing for performers.

As the adult industry trade association, FSC has published an industry “Code of Ethics,” as well as “The Adult Industry Health & Safety Manual.” For more information about FSC, opposition to mandated condom laws or business resources, contact info@freespeechcoalition.com.

(Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Navy)


AB 332 Stalls After Appropriations Committee Meeting

May 8, 2013
(l to r) Attorney Karen Tynan and Kink.com director Princess Donna

(l to r) Attorney Karen Tynan and Kink.com director Princess Donna at the state capitol

This morning in Sacramento, proposed “condom” legislation Assembly Bill 332 was presented to members of the House Appropriations Committee. Sponsor of the bill Assembly Member Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) waived his opportunity to speak on the legislation and AB 332 was sent to suspense file by the committee. Free Speech Coalition is pleased that AB 332 legislation has not moved forward today out of committee.

Representing adult industry opposition to AB 332, labor attorney Karen Tynan stood ready to deliver a statement to the legislators, focusing on the financial pitfalls of the regulatory scheme. Tynan also hoped to speak to the process already started with state regulatory agency Cal/OSHA, to establish industry-appropriate regulations for adult film productions.

“My testimony was meant to explain and emphasize the incredible waste of taxpayer money that will result if AB332 is enacted,” Tynan said. “Cal/OSHA has a process where they have stakeholder meetings and attempt to create feasible regulations. We are still in that process with the draft regulations pending revisions. AB332 demands that the state legislature throw out all that work and start over with the AHF plan.”

Testimony would have also outlined the potentially enormous costs to taxpayers if AB 332 is passed, not only administrative costs, but also in a significant loss of jobs and revenue for counties in California as adult producers are pushed to other areas for production locations.

“Committee members with adult entertainment businesses in their districts should be reminded that these businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and should have a voice in this process,” Tynan added.

Kink.com founder and FSC Board Member Peter Acworth also attended this morning’s meeting with a contingent of performers and industry professionals. Acworth also had prepared a statement, but left the meeting without delivering testimony.

“We got here at 5:30am and spent most of the day,” Acworth said. “But we’re happy the bill has been put in suspension. I hope this is the end of the bill. I remain a strong advocate for performer testing and the APHSS.org database system.”

Representatives from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and other AB 332 supporters were apparently not in attendance at this morning’s meeting.

 


Call to Action: Please FAX House Appropriations Committee to Oppose AB 332

May 6, 2013

LoudspeakerFree Speech Coalition is issuing a call-to-action to all its members and opponents of Assembly Bill 332, the proposed bill to mandate barrier protection in adult film productions in California. AB 332 is scheduled to go before the State Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 8.

Below you will find a letter that can be copied and pasted into a document and then FAXED to the Appropriations Committee representatives listed below. Please, reach out to these legislators by FAX to tell them that you oppose AB 332. We have been advised that FAX is the most effective platform for communication.

Please, send your message before May 8 and help us fight the good fight. Now is the time to come together and voice your opposition to AB 332 – before the industry is driven out of California, or another dime of taxpayer money is wasted on this poorly written law.

For more information on AB 332, or on how YOU can help oppose condom laws, contact info@freespeechcoalition.com or call (818) 348-9373. Thank you for your help!

 

Dear [decisionmaker],

Assembly Bill 332 is being brought before State Assembly Appropriations Committee, authored by Assembly Member Isadore Hall III, (Democrat, 64th District – Compton) and co-authored by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, (Democrat, 50th District – Santa Monica).

This proposed legislation is overbroad and was written without the input of those most affected by it – the producers and performers of the adult film industry. If allowed by California lawmakers, AB 332 will effectively drive the adult industry out of California to areas where responsible, appropriate regulation will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

Mandating barrier protection use will effectively drive adult producers out of California, taking thousands of jobs and billions in revenue with them. A recently reported dramatic drop in requests for adult film permits in Los Angeles County clearly indicates that the adult film production industry does not support the local Measure B “condom” ordinance, and that it absolutely opposes AB 332.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has been the only sponsor of this legislation that is an offshoot of the Measure B legislation passed in Los Angeles in November. Presently, adult producer Vivid Entertainment and two other plaintiffs are suing the County of Los Angeles because of Measure B; at the very least, any decision on state legislation should wait until a decision is delivered in the local case.

While AHF would have constituents believe that AB 332 (and Measure B) are based on protocols for workplace health & safety, in fact this legislation threatens to destroy adult film industry self-regulation and a rigorous STD testing program that has proved effective at protecting the health and safety of performers since it was instituted in 1998. AHF has used significant funding (to the tune of more than $5 million by some estimates) and misleading information to sway legislators and the public.

In fact, the adult film industry is a legal and responsible industry. The STD testing program (APHSS.org) was developed to effectively manage risk and has been successful at nearly eliminating “outbreaks” of STDs. There has not been an on-set incidence of HIV infection since 2004. Both producers and performers are voluntarily compliant with the industry-appropriate standards that are currently observed, but that would not be the case if condom (and other barrier protection) use were mandated.

In any case, matters related to workplace safety fall under the jurisdiction of state agency Cal-OSHA; to shift responsibility for enforcement of any workplace safety-related legislation to local municipalities and counties is an unnecessary burden to taxpayers in those locations, who would be charged with providing significant resources and infrastructure in order to provide enforcement of such legislation.

Please, do not support AB 332 – this legislation is poorly written, unnecessarily overbroad and addresses a problem that doesn’t exist. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

 

FAX to House Appropriations Committee Members:

Assembly Member Mike Gatto

300 East Magnolia Boulevard
Suite 504
Burbank, CA 91502
Tel: (818) 558-3043
Fax: (818) 558-3042

assemblymember.gatto@assembly.ca.gov

Assembly Member Diane L. Harkey

29122 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite #111
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Tel: (949) 347-7301
Fax: (949) 347-7302

assemblymember.harkey@assembly.ca.gov


FSC, Industry Members Travel to Sacramento to Oppose AB 332

April 29, 2013

600px-California_State_Capitol_Building

On Wednesday, Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke was accompanied by former performer Lydia Lee (aka Julie Meadows), producers Mo Reese and Lorenzo Marr, and FSC staff on a day-long trip to Sacramento, to stand in opposition of Assembly Bill 332, the proposed California bill that would require barrier protection use on adult film productions.

The bill was presented to the House Assembly Labor & Employment Committee by its backers Assemblymember Isadore Hall III and representatives of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Also in attendance were many adult industry members representing Kink.com, Hot House Entertainment, Factory Video, Naked Sword, and several other Bay Area adult companies. Lee and Marr both spoke before the committee, stating their reasons for opposing the “condom law.”

“It was inspiring to speak with so many industry professionals from Kink.com, Hot House Media and Factory Videos, as well as individuals from the community who care about how much more complicated this is than merely a condom proposition,” said Lee. “The opposition has constantly made demeaning comments that conflate the work I chose to do of my own free will with messages perpetuated by anti-porn propagandists, but I am proud of my participation in this process and exercising the voice I have.”

While attendees’ efforts were valiant, the Labor & Employment Committee unfortunately did clear AB 332 in a 5-0 vote later on Wednesday afternoon. The bill will now be sent to the House Appropriations Committee where it faces its next hurdle.

“The trip to Sacramento was a great experience,” said producer Reese. “Of course I’m not happy about AB 332 moving forward, but it was still interesting to see our political system at work. I appreciate the time and hard work both Lydia & Lorenzo put into their statements. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a room full of politicians & fight for what you believe in.

“The outpouring of support from industry members from San Francisco was amazing – I wish we could have seen more people from Los Angeles,” Reese added. “Our fight against AB 332, Measure B & AIDS Healthcare Foundation is far from over; together we can win this. For people who choose to focus on the negative, or on what others should have done, maybe instead ask yourself what it is that you can do.”

FSC opposes AB 332 because it will drive the adult industry out of California, taking thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue elsewhere. This misguided legislation addresses a problem that doesn’t exist by creating an unneeded bureaucracy that will be paid for with California tax dollars. FSC supports and oversees the industry-appropriate system of STD testing for adult performers that has proved to be effective since 1998; AB 332 actually threatens the health and well being of performers by threatening to dismantle industry standards for self-regulation.

For more on AB 332, Measure B or the Los Angeles “Safer Sex” in Adult Film Productions Ordinance – and for info on how you can help oppose it – please, visit StopCondomLaws.com.

(Photo: Courtesy of Ttoolan)

 


FSC, Liberty & Prosperity Now Panel in Vegas this Weekend

April 25, 2013

Liberty and Prosperity Now Luncheon - 2


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