Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Izzy Hall's Last Stand: SB 1576, The Condom Mandate...errrrrrr, Personal Protective Equipment Bill (Now With 50% More 2257 Kick!!) Gets Its Day In California Assembly

If at first you don't suceed..

Last year, California Assemblyman Isadore Hall made two efforts to exploit the numerous STI controversies ongoing in the Los Angeles-based porn industry in order to pass his bills to force mandatory condoms and other "barrier protection" onto porn shoots. Both times, his bills didn't even make it to the full Assembly for a vote, due to them getting killed in committee due to costs and Constitutional questions.

This week, though, Assemblyman Hall and his backers at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are hoping that, to use another trite catch phrase, the third time would be the charm.

The newest effort, SB 1576, attempts to take a different approach from the previous attempts last year.

If you will remember, Hall's original attempts at the condom mandate utilized the existing CalOSHA regulations regarding treatment of "employees" and protection from "bloodborne pathogens" in order to require porn producers to force condoms on performers against their wishes. It also basically ignored if not sought to eliminate and replace entirely the existing screening and testing regime that has been used by the industry to screen out potential infections.

This year, though, Hall and his commisars at AHF seem to be more aware that their case isn't quite as airshut as they originally thought....so, they've tweaked and tinkled with their bill constantly to get to the point of finally unleashing it to an Assembly committee on tomorrow. The fact that the Free Speech Coalition is holding their annual "Free Speech Lobbying Days" sessions with the Assembly next week might also have something to do with their sudden desparation push.

Whatever the motivation may be, the final product of Hall still has as many questions as answers.

One main departure from last year is that the bill does give a left-handed nod to the testing regime by requiring that all adult performers not only be induced to wear "personal protective equipment" (that would include not only condoms, but also dental dams, gloves, goggles, and other forms of barrier protection), but would also have to prove that they were tested for HIV and most other STI's within 14 days of their performing anal or vaginal sex acts on screen.

Apparently, this is Hall's/AHF's way of splitting the difference with the industry through acknowledging the success of the FSC-PASS testing regime, while still favoring mandatory "barrier protection" (read, condoms) as supposedly a backup reinforcement.

Strangely enough, the proposed bill would not directly mandate "barrier protection" for oral sex acts, even though the original legislation would have bound porn producers to the provisions of California Code Section 5193, which is in the process of being revised by CalOSHA to cover porn shoots. Those proposed revisions would have not only mandated condoms/barrier protections for all anal and vaginal sex acts on screen, but would also have sanctioned any proximity of bodily fluids (including sperm or vaginal secretions) from areas where STI transmission could take place. That would mean no creampies, no facials, no external pop shots below the breasts or above the knees, and no pop shots on the buttocks. SB1576, unlike last year's efforts, slides away from such requirements, concentrating only on "barrier protection" for anal and vaginal sex.

That would be bad enough for performers who want their own choice of protection...but in the process of attempting to make his bill acceptable for passage, Assemblyman Hall added some language that may potentially undue his efforts. 

Here's the pertinent section on how Hall plans to enforce his bill, through what appears to be a record-keeping nightmare for porn producers.

(i) (1) An adult film employer’s injury prevention program shall include a log of information for all scenes produced or purchased, including, but not limited to, documentation that:

(A) Each time an employee performing in an adult film engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse,
a condom or other protective barrier personal protective equipment was used to protect the employee from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This paragraph shall not be construed to require that the
condom or other protective barrier personal protective equipment be visible to the consumer in the finished film.

(B) Each employee performing in an adult film was tested for sexually transmitted infections,
including, but not limited to, HIV, according to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department of Public Health current at the time the testing takes place, not
less more than 14 days prior to filming any scene in which the employee engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse and that the employer paid for the test.

(2) For the purposes of this subdivision, “adult film” means any commercial film, video, multimedia, or other recorded representation during the production of which performers actually engage in sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, or anal penetration.
The main point here is that the "employers" would be required to keep detailed records of every scene they produced or published, in which not only the performers' names and licenses would be made accessible to health authorities upon request, but also test results, the detailed sex acts, and the type of "personal protection" used in each scene. Yes, folks, I said medical records. And, those records would have to be maintained and logged by the production companies for as long as the law allowed, if not forever.

Now, isn't there a law called the Health Information and Personal Privacy Act (aka HIPPA) which protects people's medical records from just such a public intervention?? And, wasn't it AHF who used the same motive of "medical privacy" to sue the old AIM when Desi Foxx's medical info turned up online thanks to the work of the original Porn Wikileaks?

If this sounds so hauntingly familiar, it's the same exact degree of death by information logging that the age verification 2257/2257A federal regulations were created to enforce. And like 2257, this new regime of medical bookeeping would allow so much abuse due to anyone getting access to the medical records of performers and using them for exploitive blackmail or doxxing...or worse.

Whether or not all this is enough go get through the Assembly firewall will be seen by all tomorrow, when the Assembly's Committee on Labor and Enforcement take up the bill. It would have to pass there, then go to another committee and pass that before it goes to the full Assembly..and then it would have to go through and pass the California State Senate before going to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

Most folk say that this won't even pass the smell test and will be tabled like the last two efforts. We'll just watch and see.

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