By Edwin Folven, 7/26/2012
L.A. County Board of Supervisors certifies ballot measure
Voters will decide in November whether actors in adult films should be required to wear condoms under a decision Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) had pushed for a countywide law requiring condom use in adult films and had gathered more than 370,000 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot. Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, said having countywide regulation will provide better protection for adult film performers, and will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
“We are extremely pleased that the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the ballot measure, as dictated by the will of the people, including the 371,000 residents of L.A. County who signed the petition to put the measure on the ballot,” Weinstein said. “Condoms are the best way to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases. No one should contract an incurable disease as a routine part of going to work.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District, voted to place the measure on the ballot, but said he has reservations about how such a law would be enforced.
“It should go on the ballot to let the people decide the issue,” Yaroslavsky said. “The issue itself is very complicated. It puts the responsibility of enforcing the regulations on the Department of Public Health. One argument is that that is a workplace safety issue and that should come under OSHA (the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health). The other argument is that it is a public safety issue. You have to get into how effective this law would be.”
Supervisor Gloria Molina, 1st District, cast the lone opposing vote to place the issue on the ballot, reportedly stating that it could make the county susceptible to lawsuits by adult film performers who contract diseases on film sets. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd District, abstained from voting because he doesn’t believe that spending money to enforce a condom ordinance would be the best allocaiton of resources for fighting HIV/AIDS, said Vincente Harris, senior policy advisor for Ridley-Thomas.
Weinstein said a countywide ordinance would address the adult film industry moving out of the City of Los Angeles to avoid prosecution.
The ordinance sponsored by the AHF would require adult film producers to obtain a permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as a prerequisite for filming. A fee would be charged to cover the cost of enforcement. The AHF conducted a poll in March in which 63 percent of 1,000 likely voters supported the measure.