TAKE THREE: California State Assemblymember Isadore Hall Introduces a Third Bill Before California Assembly to Make Condoms in Porn a Statewide Law

By: Christopher Motyl

The third time may be the charm for passing statewide legislation requiring the use of condoms in the production of adult film in California.  On January 31, 2014 Assemblymember Isadore Hall introduced AB 1576 to the California State Assembly.[1]  This filing came some three weeks prior to the deadline for new bills to be considered.[2]  Assemblymember Hall has been a leading advocate in the crusade to implement safer workplace practices for performers in Southern California’s iconic adult film industry.[3]

The Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, also known as Measure B, is a Los Angeles County ordinance passed via referendum by Los Angeles voters on November 12, 2012.[4]   This measure requires the use of condoms by performers during the production of adult film throughout Los Angeles County.[5]   Difficulty in implementing and enforcing the regulation has been a major criticism of the bill.  While this mandate is enforceable in nearly all eighty-eight cities within Los Angeles, jurisdictional loopholes have played a key role in allowing the industry to circumvent coverage under the new law.[6]  Cities such as Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon operate their own municipal health departments and thus do not fall under the ambit of Measure B.[7]  Similarly, adult film executives and production companies have simply shifted film sites outside of the boundaries of sprawling L.A. County to areas such as Ventura County, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Passage of this highly controversial legislation came in response to a number of outbreaks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among performers in the industry, which resulted in moratoriums on filming and production for weeks at a time.  Most recently on December 6, 2013, an unidentified performer came forward revealing a positive test for HIV.[8]   To deal with industry evasion of Measure B, Assemblymember Hall had previously introduced AB 640 to the California State Assembly.[9] This bill, which would have essentially expanded the scope of Measure B’s jurisdiction to the entire state of California died in the Senate in September of 2013.[10]

The series of outbreaks and moratoriums from August to December of 2013, coupled with industry evasion of Measure B, and the failure of AB 640, prompted Assemblymember Hall to reintroduce legislation for the upcoming Senate term.  Like its predecessors AB 640 and AB 332, AB 1576 aspires to reform worker safety regulations within the notoriously self-regulated adult film industry by mandating “barrier protection” for adult film performers.[11]   Substantively, the bill if passed will add § 6720 to the labor code relating to employment.[12]  A summary of the bill is as follows:

“This bill would require an employer engaged in the production of an adult film to adopt prescribed practices and procedures to protect employees from exposure to, and infection by, sexually transmitted diseases, including engineering and work practice controls, an exposure control plan, hepatitis B vaccinations, medical monitoring, and information and training on health and safety. The bill would define terms for those purposes. Because a violation of the act would be a crime under certain circumstances, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.”[13]

As of February 14, 2014 the AB 1576 was referred to the Assembly on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media.[14]  The bill was also referred to Committee on Labor and Employment for further action.[15]  Pending approval by both committees, the bill will then be sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where if approved will be voted on by the full assembly.[16]

Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the adult film industry trade group and staunch opponent of “condoms in porn” legislation issued the following statement:

“This measure will further drive production out of the state of and create severe hardships for ancillary businesses…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.”[17]

Assemblymember Hall also opined on the issue on mandatory condom use in adult film after the introduction of AB 1576.  In an interview with industry trade publication XBIZ he addressed the need for such legislation, noting “the multiple HIV and STI outbreaks within the adult film industry in 2013 along with the three self-imposed moratoriums only strengthened the need for mandatory statewide condom requirement in adult films.”[18]

Time will tell whether workplace reform of the adult film industry in the form of mandatory condom use will become the supreme law of the state of California.  While the issue has come to forefront of court dockets and legislative agendas within the state one thing is clear: neither advocates or opponents of the proposed condom law appear ready to back down anytime soon.


[1]  Assemb. B. 1576 (Ca. 2014)  see also Assemblymember Isadore Hall Reintroduces Condom Legislation as AB 1576, FSC Blog, ( Jan. 31, 2014) http://fscblogger.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/assemblymember-isadore-hall-reintroduces-condom-legislation-as-AB-1576/

[2]  California State Senate Legislative Calendar and Deadlines, available at http://senate.ca.gov/legdeadlines (noting that the Legislature reconvenes on January 5, 2014 and that February 21, 2014 represents the last day for the introduction of bills).

[3] See generally, Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III Representing the 64th AssemblyDistrict, available at http://www.asmdc.org/members/a64/

[4]  Los Angeles Porn Actors Required to Wear Condoms Act, Measure B (November 2012), available at  http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Los_Angeles_Porn_Actors_Required_to_Wear_Condoms_Act,_Measure_B_(November_2012).

[5] Id.

[6] The Folly of Measure B, (Nov. 09, 2012) available at http://www.pasadenasun.com/2012-11-09/opinion/35020685_1_long-beach-and-pasadena-workplace-safety-pasadena-officials. See also Eric Bradley, Measure B: Does the Adult-Film Condom Mandate Apply in Long Beach? , (Nov. 7, 2012, 9:00PM PST) available at http://www.presstelegram.com/technology/20121108/measure-b-does-the-adult-film-condom-mandate-apply-in-long-beach

[7]  Id

[8] Noah Rayman, Porn Film Industry Halted as Fourth HIV Case Emerges, Sept. 10, 2013 available at http://nation.time.com/2013/09/10/porn-film-industry-halted-as-fourth-hiv-case-emerges/print/

[9] Assemb. B. 640 (Ca. 2013).

[10] Dennis Romero, Porn’s Statewide Condom Law Dies in California Legislature, LA Weekly, Sep. 16, 2013, 2:16 PM available at http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2013/09/16/porns-statewide-condom-law-dies-in-california-legislature

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Rhett Pardon, New Calif. Porn-Condom Bill Moves Forward, Xbiz, Feb. 18, 2014 available at http://www.xbiz.com/174995

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Assemblymember Isadore Hall Reintroduces Condom Legislation as AB 1576, FSC Blog, ( Jan. 31, 2014) http://fscblogger.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/assemblymember-isadore-hall-reintroduces-condom-legislation-as-AB-1576/

[18] Rhett Pardon, New Calif. Porn-Condom Bill Moves Forward, Xbiz, Feb. 18, 2014 available at http://www.xbiz.com/174995

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