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LA County questions how to regulate condoms in pornographic films

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An initiative that would require adult film performers to wear condoms during intercourse scenes was stalled today when members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors questioned the enforcement of such a proposal.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation gathered enough signatures to have the initiative, which would also require producers to obtain a health permit, placed on a countywide ballot. However, under questioning from Supervisor Gloria Molina, attorneys for the county admitted it was unclear if the initiative would apply to cities throughout Los Angeles County or just the unincorporated areas.

“I really do think we need to have a better understanding of the jurisdiction, and if in fact it’s a countywide vote or is it unincorporated areas,” Molina said.

The matter will be back before the Board of Supervisors on July 24. The board has until Aug. 7 to decide whether to place the initiative on the November ballot.

Representatives with AIDS Healthcare Foundation believe that condom usage will reduce performers’ risks to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

“Not only is (not using condoms) endangering these young people who are in the industry, but it’s sending a terrible message to the world that the only kind of sex that’s hot is unsafe,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

If the Board of Supervisors and voters do eventually agree that performers should wear condoms during pornographic shoots, it will be difficult to enforce the law. Last January, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring condom use however, a working group is still figuring out how monitor compliance.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said it would be misleading to approve an ordinance that is not enforced.

“As we know, most of this industry is underground. Neither the city nor the county nor OSHA is going to be able to find every garage in the county of Los Angeles where the filming takes place, every rented home in the hills,” Yaroslavsky said. “They don’t apply for (film) permits so we’re not going to know.”

Despite those concerns, Yaroslavsky indicated he would vote to have the issue placed on the November ballot once the jurisdictional questions are answered. 

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