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L.A. Moves to Require Condoms on Porn Sets

City Council tentatively OKs ordinance requiring enforcement of condom use in porn filming.

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday tentatively approved an ordinance that would make Los Angeles the first city in the nation to .

The council voted 11-1, on first reading, to approve the ordinance requiring the city to enforce the condom requirement and forcing film companies to pay a fee for a film permit in order to pay for the inspections.

Councilman Mitchell Englander cast the lone dissenting vote. A second procedural vote on the ordinance requires a simple majority of the council to give final approval.

Council members also voted unanimously Tuesday to form a working group composed of the City Attorney's Office, Police and Personnel departments and state occupational safety officials to figure out how to enforce the new requirements.

Several members of West Hollywood-based (AHF) and former adult film actors urged the council to approve the measure. No one representing the porn industry spoke in opposition.

AHF President Michael Weinstein described the vote as a step toward regulating what he called the "machine that was promoting unsafe sex." He said the foundation would now focus its attention on forcing the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to closely regulate adult film sites.

Last month, the city clerk certified about 71,000 petition signatures—more than the 41,138 necessary—collected by the AHF to force the City Council to consider the initiative.

City law required the council to approve the initiative as an ordinance or place it before voters in an upcoming election. Council members and supporters of the initiative urged approving the ordinance to avoid the $4 million cost of putting it on the June ballot.

Under the ordinance, anyone issued a permit to shoot an adult film must provide and require the use of condoms on set, and a fee is to be charged for the permits in order to cover the cost of inspections.

A state law already exists requiring the use of "barrier protection" on adult film sets, but is rarely enforced, advocates of the measure say.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich filed a lawsuit in December asking a judge to rule on the legality of the initiative. Trutanich had argued that local governments are pre-empted from enforcing state laws that deal with employer-employee relationships.

However, "there is a potential gap in the law involving independent contractors. So if the film is using independent contractors as actors, we may lawfully regulate in that area," Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores said.

The interpretation was the basis for a settlement agreement approved during a closed session for the city to drop the lawsuit.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health has argued the city can enforce state workplace safety laws requiring actors to use condoms during porn shoots via the city's permitting process even when the actors are full-time employees.

The City Attorney's Office expects the pornography industry to file a lawsuit.

Weinstein brushed aside warnings that the ordinance would cause a spike in illegal porn shoots.

"We don't not have regulations of restaurants because somebody is going to have a hot dog cart that is unregulated. ... We don't say that you can build a skyscraper without any worker protections because somebody is putting up drywall in somebody's garage," he said.

Stay up to date on West Hollywood news and events, by following @WehoPatch and “like” on Facebook.

me January 11, 2012 at 03:54 PM
AHF is hollywood based (not west hollywood)
William Margold January 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
MAKE LOVE...NOT LAW!

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