The California Assembly's Appropriations Committee just decided to table Isadore Hall's bill, AB 332, which would have mandated condoms and other "barrier protections" for all porn productions statewide; effectively killing it for the legislative session this year. (Today was the final day for bills introduced to be considered for this year's session.)
Needless to say, it probably isn't a happy camp over at AIDS Healthcare Foundation today.
On the other hand, the Free Speech Coalition, which has been roundly pilloried by some as being so uneffective, actually gets to boast a victory. Here's their press release issued on the heels of AB 332's defeat, via XBiz.com:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly Appropriations Committee voted today to stop Assembly Bill 332 from moving forward, the FSC reported.
AB 332 would have mandated barrier protection use in adult film productions in California.
“We are grateful that lawmakers have chosen the best interest of California’s taxpayers and the adult industry over AB 332’s misguided legislation,” FSC CEO Diane Duke said. “The adult industry creates a tremendous amount of revenue and jobs for California. We have effective, successful standards in place to protect performers.
Duke called the bill “a solution without a problem” and told XBIZ that the FSC would have been able to block the legislation from becoming law should it have moved on to the senate. According to Duke, legislators recognized the flaws in the bill and decided to oppose it.
“We support choice for performers, as well as the successful testing system that has been in place since 1998, which have resulted in no on-set transmissions of HIV in nine years, nationwide,” Duke said. “It is encouraging to see that legislators recognize the hard work that the adult industry has done to safeguard performers and that our hard work will not be lost to an unnecessary bureaucracy created from unnecessary legislation.”
Terry Schanz, the press secretary for Assemblyman Isadore Hall, who introduced the bill in February, told XBIZ that AB 332 is not dead and no vote was taken on it today. He added that in a two-year legislative process, there is "plenty of time" for the bill to move forward.
"At this point, one thing is clear: Assemblymember Mike Gatto has put porn profits above the need to protect workers in California," Schanz said. "He gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘money shot’."
FSC has spearheaded opposition to AB 332, Measure B and continues to oppose legislation that threatens the adult industry. FSC also upholds industry-appropriate self-regulation that includes STD testing for performers.
Mike Gatto, for those who might not recognize his name, is the head of the Appropriations Committee.
Ernest Greene had called it in the comments earlier.
Funny, I had a feeling this would happen, much as it did with the Leslie bill back in 2004. Grandstanding measures that obligate the state to spend undetermined amounts of taxpayer money for no reasonable return have a way of expiring in committee. This one could get out to a floor vote if AHF can figure out some kind of backhanded maneuver to short-circuit the process, but I suspect that will prove a bridge to far even for them.On the other hand, there are these words of caution from AVN's Mark Kernes:
Sacramento plays by its own rules and has its own influential constituents to please. I doubt Michael Weinstein is on their radar as anything but a minor nuisance. He can try bullying these guys and undoubtedly will, but I don't expect them to be terribly impressed.
I'm not counting any chickens yet, but AB 332 seems pretty likely to fall off the legislative calendar.
Yes, the existing bill is dead, since today was the last day that action could be taken on bills that had already been introduced, and since no action—that is, no up or down vote—was taken today, the bill is effectively dead. But as some have pointed out, AIDS Healthcare Foundation is heavily invested in forcing adult performers to wear "barrier protections" during sex scenes, regardless of the fact that they are tested regularly for STDs and generally in good health—and AHF is unlikely to let a little thing like a bill being prevented from moving forward by the California Assembly stop them. So expect the same or similar bill to be introduced during the next legislative session, because they know they've got money to burn for things like this, and the publicity surrounding such issues gets them loads of donations, while the adult industry continues to struggle from the ongoing recession. So rest assured, this fight isn't over.But at least, that will be one less battle to worry about this year for the adult entertainment industry. And perhaps, maybe we will see the implosion of Measure B as well??