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July 31, 2015

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Voter-approved measure may bring L.A.-based porn producers to Las Vegas

A new voter-approved law requiring Southern California porn performers to wear condoms while filming sex scenes could be a boon for the adult film industry in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles County — which includes the San Fernando Valley, the center of the adult film industry — approved Measure B by a 12-point margin. The measure requires film producers to obtain permits from the county Department of Health and to ensure performers wear condoms during sex scenes.

The adult film industry fiercely opposed the proposal, arguing consumers weren’t interested in watching sex scenes with condoms and that testing policies already in place effectively prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The industry also has threatened to move elsewhere if the condom requirement is enforced.

“It’s fair to say that many production companies are closely looking at shifting production out of Los Angeles County right now,” said James Lee, spokesman for the No on Government Waste Committee, which opposed the measure.

Lee was quick to warn that a move was not imminent. Already, a legal challenge to the new measure is being planned and details of how the law will be enforced still are being sorted out.

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, scheduled a daylong “summit” Thursday in Hollywood to discuss the latest developments regarding Measure B.

If the measure stands, requiring actors to wear condoms would put Los Angeles-based adult-film companies at a disadvantage, Lee said, prompting them to look elsewhere, including Las Vegas.

“I think Las Vegas already has a history with the adult entertainment industry and it has close proximity to where they’re already based in Los Angeles,” he said. “Any consideration of alternatives of where to move is going to have to include Las Vegas.”

Steven Hirsch, founder of the adult-oriented Vivid Entertainment Group, told Bloomberg News that he expected some producers to begin filming in Las Vegas, which already is home to several porn production companies, including industry heavyweight Brazzers, and scenes are regularly shot throughout the valley.

Las Vegas offers a number of appealing benefits to companies looking to relocate, including cheap real estate, less regulation and a sex-friendly culture, said attorney Clyde Dewitt, who represents porn production companies and has offices in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

“If you compare the business environment in Las Vegas to the one in Los Angeles, it’s so much more favorable in Las Vegas,” he said. “Companies are already shooting in Las Vegas. They do it all the time.”

Supporters of Measure B, led by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, argued the measure would help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

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