The latest yesterday, from XBiz.com:
The state Legislature's Labor and Employment committee approved Assembly Bill 332 this afternoon at a hearing at the state Capitol.
After more than a half an hour of testimony, the bill went on to a vote where it stalled and was put "on call" because there weren't enough votes cast. By 5 p.m. today, the committee had all the votes needed to move the piece of legislation forward. It moved on with a 5-0 vote.
[The official vote was 5-1, with 1 abstension.]
The bill will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration. With approval, AB 322 then would be voted on by the full Assembly. Pending approval by the full Assembly, the bill will be referred to the Senate and go through a similar policy and fiscal review process. If passed, AB 332 would be effective Jan. 1, 2015.
The Labor and Employment committee is comprised of Assembly members Roger Hernandez, Mike Morrell, Jimmy Gomez, Chris Holden, Luis Alejo and Ed Chau.
Alejo and Chau were not present at the initial hearing, but voted for the bill before the meeting adjourned.
AB 332 essentially mimics Measure B, which requires condom use for porn shoots in Los Angeles County; but differs crucially by making it a statewide mandate.
There was a gaggle of porn performers at the committee hearing to make their cases. Two former performers, Hayden Winters and Jesse Rogers, did testify in favor of AB 332, invoking their experiences with STI's; but the overwhelming majority of performers who attended came out strongly in opposition to the bill as a violation of their civil liberties and a destruction of the industry testing system that had been in place for the past 20 years.
One of the most powerful testimonials against the bill, though, came from former performer Lydia Lee (fka Julie Meadows), who has become one of the principal and most eloquent advocates in opposition to the condom mandate. Here's a special bit of snippage from her statement to the committee:
“Frankly one of the most frustrating things about this bill is that everyone wants to speak for women in the adult film industry,” Lee said. “Two weeks ago the author of this bill made an impassioned speech in committee stating that the Legislature needs to protect the women in the industry who cannot protect themselves. And I am quite frankly tired of being compared to an animal in a mainstream movie. I am an adult and I can consent, and let me be clear: no one in this industry is forced to work in this industry.”There was some initial confusion on the first vote, which was 3-0, one vote shy of what was needed for passage; prompting reports that the bill had been tabled. However, it turned out that it had simply been put on hold (or "on call") so that the abstending members could be cajoled with AHF money to support the bill...and in the end, 2 members ultimately voted for AB 332 to pass, clearing its approval.
So now, it's one more committee, the Appropriations Committee, before Isadore Reed and Mike Weinstein get to play around with the entire California State Assembly. Considering the Democratic supermajority there, it's going to take far more than the regular "Stop evil government intervention" arguments to prevent this bill from passing and ultimately devastating the Cali porn industry. If there was ever a time for the Free Speech Coalition to earn the money that they are constantly and regularly begging for, it is now.
And if there was ever a time for performers, producers, and fans alike to get off the keisters, the bitTorrents, and the tube sites and actually stand up for performers rights and their own right to see safe bareback porn...well, you know the drill. Unless, of course, you like 24/7 PPE fetish porn and softcore...because that's what you are going to get ultimately if this bill becomes law. And..it won't just be a California thing, either...this is meant to be pushed nationwide.