This is the first of a three-part series designed to clarify the mandatory condom regulation activity in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and the state of California. The purpose of this series is to provide up-to-date information to FSC Members and the industry at large: information on the status of current regulations, anticipated regulatory activity, and FSC plans for opposition.
What is the Status of the LA City Mandatory Condom Ordinance for Adult Productions?
Early in 2011, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) brought the issue before the Los Angeles City Council. The council voted down the proposed regulation because the City Attorney deemed that it was a state issue and that the city had no jurisdiction. On July 20, 2011, in an unprecedented act, CalOSHA sent a letter to the city of Los Angeles stating that the city does have jurisdiction because the city “does not seek to enact an occupational health and safety standard but rather a public health standard applicable to any film activity (regardless of employment relationship) within the city boundaries”.
On Thursday December 1, 2011, AHF submitted 70,000 signatures to the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office to put an initiative on the June ballot that would tie the provision of film permits with a regulation mandating condoms on adult production sites. It is estimated that AHF spent at least $350,000 for paid signature gatherers to get the initiative on the ballot.
Late December of 2011, the Los Angeles City Attorney filed suit against AHF arguing that putting the proposed initiative on the ballot would be too costly for the City–$4.4 million. Furthermore, the City Attorney argued that the initiative would be a waste of taxpayer funds because the jurisdiction rests at the state level and that the initiative is likely unconstitutional.
On January 10, 2012, the LA City Council chose to bypass the ballot and passed a city ordinance that ties the provision of film permits with the mandatory use of condoms on adult production sites. To clarify the contents of the ordinance, the ordinance applies to offsite shoots; shoots in sound stage do not fall under this regulation. There are no “adult” film permits, only film permits that include nudity. Film LA—the entity that grants permits—reports that it grants approximately 40 permits for shoots that contain nudity per month and many of those are permits for mainstream productions.
On Monday January 23, 2012, LA Mayor Villaraigosa signed the ordinance into law. The law went “into effect” March 5th. The City Administrator’s Office (CAO) has been tasked with developing a process for implementation.
The CAO has held two work group meetings gathering information from the Fire and Police departments as well as FILM LA. All of these entities reported that they do not have a structure set up that is conducive for this type of regulatory monitoring and enforcement. Moreover, FILM LA, FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas and industry attorney Michael Fattorosi pointed out a number of Constitutional concerns with content-based enforcement.
At the last work group meeting, the City Administrator said that they will have another meeting of the work group prior to the May 16th City Council meeting where the CAO is supposed to report the results of the work group. As of this writing, no meeting of the work group is scheduled. Realistically, no prosecutions can take place until the City has developed a clear plan for implementation and a means of enforcement.
FSC will be at the upcoming meetings, speaking up for the industry. Additionally, FSC will continue to monitor the situation and update the industry as developments take place.
Stay tuned for part two where we will discuss the proposed LA County ordinance.