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October 23, 2014

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Committee passes California porn condom bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill that would require adult film actors to wear condoms during productions anywhere in California and to be tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases passed a committee vote Tuesday.

AB1576 is the third attempt by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, to expand statewide a Los Angeles mandate approved by voters in 2012.

Public health advocates and some porn stars call the bill a basic workplace safety measure that will prevent the spread of disease.

"These are employees, and they have the right to be protected just like any other employee in any other job or business," said Joshua Rodgers, who performed in gay porn under the stage name Rod Daily. He said he stopped performing after routine testing showed he contracted HIV, though he does not blame a porn shoot for the diagnosis.

Representatives of the adult film industry say they have their own protocols to protect performers without a condom mandate. Several performers testified in support of their employers.

"Condoms are made for home environments, normal sex and normal time frames," said actress Kayden Kross in her testimony.

Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, told lawmakers the porn industry is worth $6 billion in the San Fernando Valley. He said that includes supporting businesses, such as catering crews.

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult entertainment trade group, says the bill threatens to move that money out of state. Nevada attorney Marc Randazza, who represents adult film clients, told lawmakers that California businesses are already being courted to his state with low fees and little regulation, and that this bill would be the "final move to push all the businesses here."

Hall dismissed these arguments as typical exaggerations by business in the face of safety regulations.

"Shame on this Legislature if we are now at a point where we are negotiating health and safety of our employees in California for green dollar bill," Hall said.

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where a similar one stalled last year.

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