L. A. County condoms in porn measure: AHF has gathered over half the signatures needed—120,000

Press Conference: Tues., Feb. 28th 10:30am, Downtown L.A.

By AHF
2/26/2012
Los Angeles, CA

Since January 3, 2012, backers have collected over 120,000 signatures—more than half the 232,153 needed by June 5th to qualify the measure for the November 2012 election. The measure is modeled on the County’s health permit process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses. AHF and the initiative’s five named proponents are part of FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), the campaign to shepherd signature gathering and the entire County ballot initiative process

After a similar successful Citywide ballot drive and on the heels of prompting the Los Angeles CITY Council to pass an historic law tying adult film permits to condom use, advocates turn their focus to the L.A. COUNTY ballot measure that would, “…require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health…and pay a permit fee…sufficient for necessary enforcement.”

WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE (10:30am PT)
Backers of the COUNTY condoms in porn ballot measure reach halfway point in signature
drive by collecting 120,000 signatures (since Jan. 3, 2012), which are more than half the 232,153 signatures needed to qualify the County of Los Angeles initiative on the November 2012 ballot. The initiative would require adult film producers, “…to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (‘the Department’) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement”.

WHEN: TUESDAY, February 28, 2012—-10:30 AM Pacific

WHERE: in front of the
Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Building
313 N. Figueroa Street (cross street: W. Temple St.)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

WHO: Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, President
Darren James, former adult performer who contracted HIV while working in the industry
Arlette De la Cruz, International Legal Assistant for AHF and initiative proponent (SPANISH
language speaker)
Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

CONTACTS: Ged Kenslea, AHF Dir. of Communications (323) 791-5526 cell (323) 860-5225 office

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and members of the advocacy group, FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’), will host a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, February 28th at 10:30 AM Pacific in front of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services building (313 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles CA 90012) to announce they have gathered over half the signatures needed to qualify a County of Los Angeles initiative on the November 2012 ballot. This would allow Los Angeles voters to weigh in on a measure that would, “…require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (‘the Department’) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.”

Backers have collected over 120,000 signatures, but in order to qualify for the November 2012 election 232,153 signatures are needed by June 5, 2012. The measure is modeled on Los Angeles County’s health permit process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses. AHF and the initiative’s five named proponents are part of FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), the campaign to shepherd signature gathering and the entire County ballot initiative process

“We are proud to announce today that after a little under two months of signature gathering—and over three months prior to our legal deadline in June—we have passed the halfway point for signature gathering from voters in the County of Los Angeles in support of our ballot petition,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative. “After successfully spearheading a similar Citywide ballot drive which prompted the Los Angeles City Council to pass an historic law tying adult film permits to condom use, we have turned our focus to Los Angeles County ballot measure that would require adult film producers to obtain a public health permit from the County Department of Public Health as a condition of doing business here. This measure is modeled after the County’s similar health permitting process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses. For too long, elected officials have dodged this workplace safety issue, punting the issue from city to county to state, and as a consequence, the health and safety of these workers has been neglected, often with dire consequences. This is why we have taken up this ballot measure campaign: so the people, the voters in Los Angeles County, may act—or force County officials to act—on this important health and safety issue affecting adult film performers.”

This ordinance will be known as the ‘County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act.’

On December 8, Michael Ruiz, a Staff Assistant with the Election Planning and Coordination Section of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office provided the following preliminary ‘Official Title and Summary’ for the proposed ballot measure as set forth below:

County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act

• The measure would enact an ordinance to add Chapter 11.39, entitled ‘Adult Films,’ to Title 11, Health and Safety, of the Los Angeles County Code.
• The purpose of the measure is intended to minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections by regulating the adult film industry.
• The measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“the Department”) and pay a permit fee set by the Department in an amount sufficient for necessary enforcement.
• The measure would provide for a permitting process that requires application submission and proof of completion of a blood borne pathogen training course, after which a permit shall be issued. The measure also requires submission of an exposure control plan.
• The measure would require use of condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films, as well as the posting of the public health permit and notice to performers regarding condom use.
• The measure would authorize the Department to enforce the provisions of the ordinance, including suspending or revoking the public health permit for violating the ordinance, or any other law, following notice and an opportunity for an administrative review. Prior notice would not be required if any immediate danger to the public and safety is found or reasonably suspected. Violation of the ordinance would be subject to civil fines and/or criminal misdemeanor charges.
• The measure would provide that in the event another ballot measure relating to the permits for the adult film industry appears on the same ballot, that this measure shall prevail if it receives the greater number of affirmative votes, and the competing measure shall be null and void.
• The measure authorizes the Board of Supervisors to amend the chapter by ordinance, passed by a majority vote, in order to further its purposes. The chapter may only be repealed by ordinance adopted by a vote of the electors or by an amendment of the Los Angeles County Charter superseding the ordinance.
• The measure provides that if any part of the ordinance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, then remaining provisions shall be severable and remain in full force and effect.

# # #

Background on AHF’s Adult Film Worker Safety Efforts
AHF’s move to spearhead this ballot initiative was prompted by two outbreaks of HIV in the industry and an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in California’s adult film industry. As part of its ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films, AHF has undertaken high profile advocacy efforts directly targeting the industry and key players like Hustler’s founder Larry Flynt and Vivid Entertainment’s Steve Hirsch. It has also publicly pressed Los Angeles County political and health officials to comply with the law as far as legal reporting of HIV and STD cases—including those found among performers in the industry—and to require the use of condoms on film sets in Los Angeles.

In addition, multiple organizations committed to protecting public health have called for mandatory use of condoms in the production of adult films, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the California Conference of Local AIDS Directors, the California STD Controllers Association, the National Coalition of STD Directors, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the California Medical Association.

STDs in the Adult Film Industry in Los Angeles County
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at large. LADPH documented 2,013 individual cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between the years 2003 and 2007. In the period from April 2004 to March 2008 there have been 2,847 STD infections diagnosed among 1,884 performers in the adult industry in LA County. LADPH has also observed that many workers suffer multiple infections, with some performers having four or more separate infections over the course of a year. In addition, LADPH has stated that as many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004. County health officials attribute the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the porn industry to a lack of protective equipment for partners, including condoms. The agency recommends condoms be used during production, but has never taken steps to ensure their use, or to protect the performers who are essentially required to endanger their health in order to remain employed.

“This is not just about one industry, but about our entire community, as the spread of disease among adult film performers endangers themselves as well as their sexual partners in and outside the industry,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “This is why we are bringing the question directly to voters here in Los Angeles County.”

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