AB332 and the State of the State of Condoms

Greetings from Prophylacticalifornia
Greetings from Prophylacticalifornia

Assembly Bill 332, a souped-up and statewide expansion of County Ballot Measure B, cleared a committee hurdle April 24 on its way to becoming part of California law on January 1, 2015.

A Thumbnail Sketch of Measure B

As you may recall, Los Angeles County voters passed Ballot Measure B in November by a margin of 57 to 43 percent. The measure was sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and it mandated both the use of barrier protection (condoms) on porn sets and that porn companies pay for the cost of inspection personnel.

The enforceability of this measure was always unclear. Indeed, I called the Los Angeles Police Department Public Information Office shortly after Election Day and was told the LAPD had “no plan” to enforce the measure that had just passed.

The adult industry by this point had become convinced that AHF was out to destroy its way of life, having harassed Porn Valley’s de facto STD testing facility, AIM, out of existence the previous year. In the months leading up to the ballot vote, Porn Valley had shown uncharacteristic unity in opposing Measure B and educating the public about what a condom law represented.

AHF’s well-funded Yes on B campaign suggested that the Los Angeles porn industry generated HIV and that performer infections would be a drain on County resources if condoms weren’t required on sets. Opponents pointed out that every instance of HIV in the past dozen years had been contracted outside the SoCal adult industry and that the infection had merely been detected by AIM.

But fighting Measure B was an uphill battle; like the Iraq invasion hinging on the Bush Administration’s lie that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, the AHF’s WMDs was home-grown AIDS in Porn Valley.

The AHF even put two former porn performers on its payroll. Darren James had contracted HIV in Brazil and Derrick Burts had either caught his dose in a gay scene in Florida or in his side-job as a prostitute. Both men spoke out about the need for condoms in Porn Valley, implying they contracted the disease here.

And voters bought it.

Measure B’s Fallout

Since the Measure B vote (and its January 1, 2013 effective date), film permit applications for adult movies have dropped precipitously. That does not mean that porn isn’t being shot in Porn Valley. It simply means that it is either being shot on loophole-protected official soundstages (such as the one owned by Hustler in Canoga Park) or producers are going underground like in the old days.

[Read: John Holmes shot “Wadd” on a Sunday]

When I am invited to a porn set in Los Angeles County these days, I am asked to not tweet about it or name the location, as are the cast and crew. Imagine telling a porn performer to stop tweeting! While LAPD raids have been few, the noose has tightened.

Now, with porn companies actively seeking locations in other counties and unincorporated areas near Los Angeles—like the curious, non-residential City of Vernon—or moving out of the state altogether—as has parody site WoodRocket—the AHF has persuaded two California State Assemblymembers to sponsor AB332, which this week passed yet another committee on its way to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

AB332 has some teeth that Measure B didn’t, but also has a loophole of its own.

First, AB332 is a statewide measure and voters have nothing to do with it. So if Measure B made it past fairly liberal Los Angeles, whose coffers actually feel the benefit of Porn Valley production, then AB332’s comparatively anonymous, electorate-independent passage through the halls of Sacramento, where the percentage of legislators with porny constituents is far fewer, seems assured.

God’s General Is My Co-Pilot

Isadore Hall III (D—Compton) is the main author of AB332 and he was joined on the dais April 24 by AHF’s Michael Weinstein, which would have been like Halliburton chief David Lesar accompanying George W. Bush on his “Mission Accomplished” trip.

Hall holds degrees from the University of Phoenix and USC as well as two doctorates from the Next Dimension Bible College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, a school dedicated to recruiting God’s Generals to the Godmosphere in the End-Times Paradigm. You can look it up.

Its mission:

Conventional wisdom is no longer the “rule of thumb,” for God is doing a new thing in the earth realm (Isaiah 43:18-19). It is not a revival, because the church is not dead nor “flat lined”. She is simply, comatose or zombied. She is a typology of “Sleeping Beauty” (of the fairy tales) of which a spell has been cast upon her, if you will. She is analogous to the “RIP Van Winkle” syndrome within which he slept through his purpose-missing his season instead of moving into his Destiny. He dreamt his life away-asleep, amidst his “days of purpose”. Next Dimension Ministries is a heavenly venue that is poised to embrace and assist in the facilitation of God’s End-Time plan in the earth realm.

If you think one of God’s Generals might be a strange bedfellow for Weinstein, whose organization (to its credit) is a force for AIDS education in the world and that offers significant outreach to gay men, including its chain of Out of the Closet Thrift Shops, consider the odd religiosity of jettisoned AHF bedfellow/former porn performer Shelley Lubben, whose trainwreckitude even AHF couldn’t tolerate.

While most porn performers do not want condoms in their workplace and argue that it should be their choice to use them, the AHF has managed to recruit two recent and fairly composed performers—Jessie Rogers and Hayden Winters—who do not have the flies on them that Darren James and Derrick Burts do. Both Winters and Rogers traveled to Sacramento recently in support of AB332.

Hall’s motivation to be the legislative sponsor of AB332 is unclear. But it is hard to argue against “Shouldn’t Porn Sets Be Safer?”

So it may be just that authoring a bill that there is little political will to disagree with is a good way to build a legislative resume.

For example, though Influence Explorer, a campaign contribution transparency website, revealed that Dr. Hall received sizable contributions from Indian Gaming concerns in California, he sponsored this year’s HR8, recognizing National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

Entities such as the Office of Problem and Pathological Gambling, the Gambling Studies Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and therapists throughout the state have provided services to more than 3,100 clients affected by problem gambling behavior.

HR 8 commends these and various public and private organizations participating in National Problem Gambling Awareness Week for their efforts to raise public awareness of problem gambling and available treatment options.

Like AB332, this seems like a no-brainer resume-padder.

Measure B vs. AB332

Those who think AB332 is just Measure B writ state-sized are wrong, however. [Read the full text of AB332 here]

AB332 mandates testing, where Measure B did not. This means that Porn Valley’s argument that condoms aren’t needed because performers are already tested is deflated. Whereas testing in Porn Valley was required by industry fiat before, now it would become a law.

(g) An employer shall pay the costs of required medical monitoring such as STD testing and keep confidential employee records.

AB332 mandates that the employer must pay for STD testing. Some employers already do this (the recent virtual takeover of the adult industry by Manwin featured subsidized STD tests), but performers have historically borne this expense themselves.

(j) This section shall not be construed to require condoms, barriers, or other personal protective equipment to be visible in the final product of an adult film.

AB332 also deflates the argument that “consumers don’t want to see condoms because it takes away from the fantasy” by saying “OK, take out the condoms in post—if poor storyteller James Cameron can do that sort of thing, so can you.”

(1) Simulation of sex acts using acting, production, and postproduction techniques.

This means that the softcore (Skinemax) porn industry doesn’t need to go anywhere.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This (could very well) means that Measure B’s requirement that producers pay for Inspectors via fees goes out the window, as the State seems to be saying that it will reimburse local agencies.

I am unsure if the adoption of AB332 would supersede and replace similar language in Measure B and am seeking clarification on that.

(2) “Employee” means a person who is an employee, independent contractor, or unpaid individual employee or independent contractor, regardless of whether the person is shown in the adult film

This means that fluffers and fluffees also need to use condoms.

But finally, a little good news that porn producers might use to their benefit:

(1) “Adult film” means the production of any film, video, multimedia, or other recorded representation of sexual intercourse for the sexual stimulation of the viewer that may involve exposure to bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials.

This means that if porn companies can argue that the movie is not supposed to be sexually stimulating—that it is, in fact, a think-piece about the way men and women, or young women and experienced older women who know a thing or two, or white women and a roomful of black men or even a roomful of God’s Generals—interact and learn how to paradigmize the End-Times—, Porn Valley can get around AB332 and stay put.

Having passed Assembly’s Committee on Labor and Employment on April 24 by a 5-0 vote, AB332 now moves to a hearing with the legislature’s Appropriations Committee.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Adult Industry Moves to Maine Instead

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


  1. Sorry to continue to comment on not-quite-current posts, Gram–I’m trying to get caught up but doing it in reverse chronological order.

    You mentioned that Jessie Rogers and Hayden Winters voiced support for AB332; I don’t know much about these two perfomers, and was wondering if they had “quit the business” at that time or were/are still active.

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