California votes on condom use for porn actors

LOS ANGELES -- A state proposition on Tuesday's ballot here involves the kind of workplace safety issue that seems like it could only come out of California: whether to mandate condom use for adult film actors.

Proponents say Proposition 60 is needed to the lower venereal disease risk to performers, especially light of revelations in recent years that some actors had been diagnosed as carrying the AIDS virus.

It would require licensing of adult film producers, make distributors and agents liable for violations and would allow lawsuits against for producers.

Opponents say the measure will punish workers if a condom is not visible in sex scenes of adult movies and will be easy to skirt by simply moving productions out of states.

In either case, the debate focuses attention on Southern California's role as traditional home to the porn industry, an industry that generates millions, if not billions, although estimates are hard to come by. Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, a section of city northwest of downtown, has sometimes been called "porn valley" because so many adult film production companies have set up shop there.

The state's workplace safety enforcement agency, Cal-OSHA, is already charged with making sure actors wear condoms in adult films for their own protection. Plus, Los Angeles voters approved a measure in 2012 requiring condom use.

Proposition 60 backers say enforcement of that law isn't vigorous enough because the agency only acts on complaints. Only four citations were issued in 2014 and 2015, the state's legislative analyst says.

One in four performers in the porn industry have sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia and gonorrhea in far greater proportions than the general population, says the organization backing the measure, the For Adult Industry Responsibility (FAIR) Committee.

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