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Healthcare foundation to take Measure B statewide

By Edwin Folven, 11/15/2012

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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is hoping to build on its success with the passage of Measure B last week by taking the push for condom usage in adult films statewide.

The “Yes on B” big rig toured the county in support of Measure B prior to Nov. 6. Whether it will roll out statewide is unknown. (photo by Edwin Folven)

Whitney Engeran-Cordova, senior director of public health for AHF, said implementing statewide legislation would limit adult film producers’ ability to circumvent the new law by simply moving outside of Los Angeles County. He said AHF will waste no time in trying to expand the scope of the measure, and plans to lobby lawmakers throughout the state to support new legislation.

“We have gone to the state Legislature before with this kind of plan … most of the legislators were ‘icked’ out about a bill about porn,” Engeran-Cordova said. “We were very discouraged at the pace government was moving, so we decided to move forward with Measure B. Our argument to the legislators is now going to be, over one million California voters have gone on record to support better safety in the adult film industry. We need to make this consistent, and we are looking at requiring the health departments in all counties of California to ensure that when somebody gets a permit, they will have to certify that they will be using condoms.”

Engeran-Cordova said AHF has not yet lobbied any specific lawmakers in support of the new legislation, but will start with legislators in the Los Angeles area. He said they are still formulating a plan. Lobbying will likely begin within the next few weeks, ahead of the new legislative session beginning in January.

“We’re still putting it together. We’re looking at what provisions of Measure B might be applicable,” he said. “Each county has its own health department, and we are going to have to do something that works for both big and small counties.”

The push for a statewide measure comes at the same time county officials are working to figure out how to enforce Measure B. Joel Bellman, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District, said the L.A. County Department of Public Health is spearheading the effort to formulate the county’s approach. He added that it is unknown how long the process will take.

“Right now, we are in the preliminary, exploratory phase of implementing the law,” Bellman said. “The county departments will waste no time in putting the people together who are needed to put this into practice as soon as possible, but we just don’t know.”

Representatives from the Department of Public Health did not return calls seeking comment. Engeran-Cordova said AHF representatives understand that it will take some time to create a plan for enforcement, and they are willing to work with the county to find the best way to implement such a plan. The proposal is for adult film producers to pay a fee when obtaining health permits, which would fund spot checks at adult film sites. It is estimated to cost approximately $300,000 annually to enforce the plan, although the exact figure has not yet been determined.

“We have to figure out how to implement it legally and effectively,” Engeran-Cordova said. “We can’t wait too long. Six months is a rational time frame.”

Following the passage of Measure B on Nov. 6, several adult film producers threatened to move out of Los Angeles County — and even out of the country — or file a lawsuit blocking enforcement. AHF president Michael Weinstein said in a statement that he is confident those tactics will not threaten the implementation of Measure B.

“An overwhelming majority of voters in Los Angeles spoke out in support of safer sex practices in the adult film industry through their votes for Measure B. Unlike some politicians or editorial writers, it seems the voters were not squeamish about this issue, seeing this as a means to protect the health and safety of performers working in the industry,” Weinstein said. “Voter sentiment favoring safer sex in adult films is pretty clear. It’s only fair that these performers be afforded the same safeguards as other Californians in their workplaces.”

 

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