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Effort to require condoms in porn production in L.A. County moves ahead

February 27, 2012 |  6:36 pm

Photo: Condoms. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation says it is easily collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would require adult film actors to wear condoms while filming in Los Angeles County.

The foundation said it has collected more than half of the 232,153 signatures it needs to put the measure on the November 2012 ballot. The group has spent two months collecting signatures and has three more months to collect the rest of them.

The group will hold a news conference Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to announce its progress. It will be held in front of the county's health department building on Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.

The foundation has long sought greater action from the county to require porn actors to wear condoms. But county officials have repeatedly said they believe the issue should be dealt with by the state, not the county.

"We said from Day 1 that the primary responsibility for public health and disease control stands with L.A. County," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

He said he would prefer that the county Board of Supervisors draft legislation on its own, but would go to the voters if he must.

"We are still hoping that they will step up to the plate and do the right thing," Weinstein said.

"it's been very strange to us ... that the county has so steadfastly refused to take action," he said. "One thing we've demonstrated: We have the wherewithal to put this on the ballot and most people believe we have the wherewithal to enact it at the ballot box."

Weinstein said the measure has won support from a wide spectrum of voters, among all age groups and genders.

Condoms in Porn: Proposed L.A. County Ballot Petition on Public Health Permits for Porn Producers  Weinstein's ballot measure would require adult film producers to obtain a permit from the county Department of Public Health, pay a fee and would require condoms to be used during adult filming. County authorities would be able to suspend or revoke the permit for violating the ordinance, and violators would be subject to civil fines or criminal misdemeanor charges.

The measure is aimed at protecting the health of porn performers, the  foundation has said. Darren James, who contracted HIV while a porn performer in 2004, is expected to speak at Tuesday's news conference.

On Monday, a spokesman for county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose district includes the San Fernando Valley, where the vast majority of adult films made in L.A. are shot, reiterated the supervisor's belief that the state, not the county, should be the lead regulator on the condom issue.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's director of the Department of Public Health, declined to comment Monday.

The adult film industry has said it opposes a condom requirement, saying that performers should have the freedom to choose how they want to have sex and that regular testing for HIV protects performers.

Sales of adult films declined when the industry tried a condom requirement in the 1990s, and most straight porn producers subsequently abandoned it.

[For the record, 8 p.m. Feb. 27: A previous version of this post incorrectly said the number of signatures required to be collected was 232,135.]

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Condoms. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

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