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Back in September, I published a blogpost entitled California’s Condom Conundrum, focused on an initiative referendum calling for the extension to all of California of a restriction passed not so many years ago by the citizens of Los Angeles County which required that actors in pornography films wear condoms while in flagrante delicto.
As I explained at the time,
Behind the proposition stand Michael Weinstein and his AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as well as the American Sexual Health Association, the California Academy of Preventive Medicine, and the California State Association of Occupational Health Nurses. These folks think it a matter of public health. Against it you will find a phalanx of organizations including the state’s Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the Libertarians and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. Also opposed are the Free Speech Coalition, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and LGBT-rights groups such as Equality California and the Transgender Law Center. These folks think it a matter of civil liberty. Others worry that it will cost California millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The tax revenues involved are not chicken feed. The industry produces $10 billion annually in revenue. Moreover, it is already illegal under state law for the industry to film actors to having “unprotected” sex, and, as The Mercury News reported back in September, “Federal regulations through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration already require condom use for X-rated actors in the same way health workers must use gloves and other protection when dealing with bodily fluids and other potential biohazards,” and on occasion film companies have been fined. The problem from the perspective of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is that the law is too rarely unenforced. They want anyone to be able to bring a law suit.
Since I know that the Ricochetti have been waiting with bated breath to learn whether, in today’s California, civil liberties and tax revenues trump (so to speak) public health, I am here to report that the initiative went down to defeat by a ration of 53.9% to 46.1% — which means that the porn film industry will not be relocating from California to Reno, Las Vegas, or beautiful downtown Hillsdale. It will remain just across the border from Los Angeles County in the San Fernando Valley. California is intent on playing the nanny when it comes to regulating hanky-panky among undergraduates. But when a loss of tax revenues might be the consequence, the citizens of that province are libertarian. Go figure.