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County Ballot Measure Requiring Condom Use in Adult Films Gathers 120,000 Signatures

Simi Valley Council introduces motion in attempt to keep X-rated filming out of that nearby community.

Proponents of the mandatory use of condoms in X-rated videos in Los Angeles County announced Tuesday that they gathered more than 120,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure.

A total of 232,153 voter signatures are needed by June 5 to qualify the measure for the November 2012 election.

Many adult film studios have operations in Chatsworth.

Members of a campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films shot and produced in California, dubbed For Adult Industry Responsibility, or FAIR, made the announcement in front of the county Department of Health Services building downtown.

"We have passed the halfway point for signature gathering," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "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."

On Jan. 17, the City Council voted 9-1 to approve an ordinance requiring actors to use condoms in sex scenes. Officials are still working out how the ordinance would be enforced.

The county measure would require producers to get a county health permit and pay fees that would cover administrative and enforcement costs. It is modeled on county ordinances that require permits for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses, Weinstein said.

Adult film industry representatives have argued that they regularly test actors for HIV and that more regulation is unnecessary, though productions have been temporarily halted in the past based on reports of HIV-infected performers. Some producers have threatened to move out of the city or county.

Meanwhile, an ordinance aimed at keeping the adult film industry out of Simi Valley was introduced at Monday night's City Council meeting, according to the Ventura Star. It would require male performers to wear condoms.

Mayor Bob Huber called for the ordinance after the Los Angeles City Council approved one, prompting speculation that adult movie studios in Chatsworth and the San Fernando Valley might start shooting in Simi Valley where they could make videos without condoms. The studios say their viewers are turned off by condoms, the Ventura Star reported.

Los Angeles County officials have consistently expressed concern about their ability to enforce the mandatory use of condoms, saying that role belongs to the state.

"The County of Los Angeles continues to strongly support state legislation, Cal-OSHA regulations, and the regulatory role of Cal-OSHA as the most appropriate means to regulate the practices in the adult film industry that expose performers to unnecessary and preventable occupational risks of acquiring and transmitting (sexually transmitted) diseases," the county's Department of Public Health said in a statement today.

"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," Weinstein said.

At the local level, the Department of Public Health addresses sexually transmitted diseases in the industry through "monitoring, surveillance and investigation of reportable cases of communicable disease, and promotion of increased education, consistent use of condoms, and testing and treatment within the adult film industry," according to the county's statement.

-- City News Service contributed to this report.

Rebecca Whitnall (Editor) February 29, 2012 at 11:19 PM
One of our council members in Moorpark has also asked staff to look into similar ordinances ... you trend setters, you ;) The hope, he said, would be for it to act as a deterrent for the adult film industry from moving this way.

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