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Another View: Things to know about Prop. 60 – Health and Safety on Adult Film sets

By: Randi Swisley
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Editor’s note: This is another in a series of columns by Randi Swisley, president of the League of Women Voters of Placer County,  exploring measures on the November 8 ballot.

 

Before I get started, you must know that Mr. Hanner, the editor of this fine newspaper, does not pay me enough to write about pornography.  However, since he is one of the most respectful people I know, and since you, the reader, are being expected to render judgment at the polls on how pornographic actors are protected in their trade, here we go.

Proposition 60 asks voters if the California Labor Code should require more vigilant enforcement of safety requirements for performers in adult films.

California is a leading adult film industry location, with many pornographic films being made in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.  Today the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) requires performers to use condoms during sex on adult film sets, as does Los Angeles County.  OSHA considers exposure to some body fluids a workplace hazard, due to risks of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV. 

Some producers and performers prefer to make adult films without condoms, and instead use regular STI testing to confirm that performers are free of harmful infections.   In 2014 & 2015, four adult film production companies were cited as violating state regulations.

A YES vote on Prop 60 means you want the California Labor Code to contain the following additional requirements regarding workplace health and safety on adult film sets: 

Adult film producers must provide condoms, ensure performers use them, and be able to prove they did so. 

Adult Film producers must be licensed by OSHA, pay licensing fees, pay for the costs of STI prevention vaccines, testing and medical exams, and keep records showing that they complied with the requirements.

Financial penalties apply for violations.  Penalties do not apply to employees or performers unless they have a financial interest in the film.  

A YES vote also means you think any California resident should be able to request OSHA address an alleged violation and if no action is taken, that person could file a civil lawsuit against the adult film producer or distributor.  If the person filing suit prevailed in the lawsuit, that person could recover their legal costs and receive 25% of any penalties paid by the defendant.

A NO vote on Prop 60 means you want no changes to the way adult film safety laws are enforced.

If Prop 60 passes, our state Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts some parts of the adult film industry would move out of our state resulting in state and local revenue loss of several million dollars per year.

.As of September 14, $2.3M was donated to support Prop 60 and $271,560 to oppose it.  Donations to support Prop 60 are from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  Money in opposition is from Wicked Pictures, E.A. Productions, Cybernet Entertainment, Wicked Sensual Care and AEBN.

People who support Prop 60 say it improves enforcement of laws so the pornography industry is held to the same workplace protection as other industries.   

People who oppose Prop 60 say it would create a dangerous new private right of action, authorizing any California resident to file a lawsuit against adult film producers and distributors.