Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Panic Rolls On: AB 332 Clears Another California Assembly Committee

Seems like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has mastered the art of legislative wheel greasing. Two committees down, and their statewide condom mandate bill, AB 332, is thus far cruising.

The latest yesterday, from

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. won't just be a California thing, either...this is meant to be pushed nationwide.


  1. Keep up the great work, Anthony, and keep in mind that good news does happen.

    Gail Dine's friends in Iceland have just been thrown out of office! The Social Democrat/Green coalition that tried to impose sexual austerity on the Internet was thrown out for going along with the European Union's plans for economic austerity (see: Greece, Spain). The new Pirate Party that led the fight against turning Iceland into Dinestan received 5% of the vote, some from disaffected SD/Greens.

  2. Well, I'm pleased to know that Iceland kicked my ex-party (the SDP) out of office, but I wouldn't count on all the bad laws those idiots made going away instantly. I suspect the economic misery there was more of a motivating factor than the prudery of the pseudo-leftist coalition that put those laws in place.

    As for our own situation, I'm not as optimistic as I'd like to be. There's plenty of evidence already available from the utter operational failure of Measure B down here to have scuttled Hall's idiotic shilling for AHF up in Sacramento, but so far this hideous piece of legislative offal seems to be sliming its way forward with little resistance. While I agree that a Democratic majority is more inclined to see this thing through the rose-colored blinkers of "worker protection," one would think that the expense and confusion built into the proposal would sink it on practical grounds.

    But as Mark Twain observed, no politician ever lost an election by running against sin. If this thing reaches the floor, as appears increasingly likely, it could well pass, which would allow those who voted for it to cloak themselves in righteousness while tossing the issue to the courts, where decisions must be based on fact and law and where it won't stand the chance of a snowball in a Bessemer furnace. Meanwhile. millions of dollars in litigation costs will be wasted, the industry will be shredded (to the extent that it hasn't already been) and once again performers will have been the least of anyone's real concern beyond their own.

    I have a long list of people I hold responsible for this mess, and that list does not excluded the FSC, which, as the saying goes, never misses an opportunity to miss and opportunity. There have been several along the way to where we are now that a more sophisticated political understanding would have seized and put this all away, but that didn't happen because of a plain fact no one cares to acknowledge. When it comes to politics, pornographers are dumb as dirt.