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Voters in November to have say in requiring condoms in porn filming

Posted: July 24, 2012 7:23 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 7:23 p.m.


Los Angeles County voters will be deciding this November if actors and actresses starring in porn films have to wear condoms when filming within the county.

Los Angeles County supervisors approved putting the issue on the ballot during their Tuesday meeting. A petition circulating among county voters easily qualified it.

Under the initiative, the county would require two types of permits — a public health permit issued by the Health Department and a film permit that would have to be issued by the city where the filming was conducted or another permitting entity. The measure could require the county to establish a new department to issue those permits and would require random checks to ensure condoms were being used.

A group promoting the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act submitted 372,100 signatures in May from people who said they wanted the county to require that condoms be mandatory when filming porn.

The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a similar ordinance that would require porn actors and actresses to use condoms on film set.

The Department of Public Health said in a letter to supervisors that a film permit for porn shoots would be difficult to manage because there are no uniform on-location permit conditions across the county and its many cities. In addition, the letter mentioned that porn shoots are often “underground” and permits are never sought.

The establishment of an Adult Film Public Health Permit Office for the unincorporated areas would cost about $291,466 a year, or $582,932 for two-year costs, the Department of Public Health estimated.

In an effort to make the program cost-neutral for the county, fees would be $58,294 per permit if 10 permits were issued, while costs for 50 permits would total $11,658 each.

Health advocates spoke in favor of the condom mandates Tuesday and said they would help improve workplace conditions for porn actors and actresses.

Adult film advocates challenged the ballot measure.

“This will drive the adult film industry out of California,” said Allen Gelard, an attorney who specializes in First Amendment issues and was speaking on behalf of clients in the adult film industry. “This ordinance would not allow free speech.”

“This is not a speech-related issue,” countered Stephen Kaufman. “This is merely a health issue.”

First District Supervisor Gloria Molina, who voted against putting the issue on the ballot, said the county doesn’t normally have jurisdiction over workplace issues, so she was concerned about the county taking such a role.

“I’m trying to understand why we as a county would take on the huge issue of workplace issues,” Molina said.

The Board of Supervisors approved the results of the ballot initiative Tuesday on a 3-1 vote with Molina opposing. It now moves forward to the November ballot.




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