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California Lawmakers Vote To Require Condom Use In Porn Films

The California Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday that would require condom use in pornographic films shot in the state.

It was Democratic state Rep. Isadore Hall's third attempt to pass such legislation. Los Angeles County voters approved a condom mandate for adult film performers in 2012, but a similar state requirement died last year.

"We need to begin to treat the adult film industry just like any other legitimate, legal business in California," Hall said during floor debate on his bill. "Legitimate businesses are required to protect employees from injury in the workplace."

The bill received 41 votes in favor, the minimum needed. "Abstaining from voting were several Assembly members from the Los Angeles area, where the porn industry is a significant force," The Sacramento Bee reports.

AIDS activists and health professionals supported the legislation.

"It's not private activity; it's commercial activity," Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know why people who work in that industry shouldn't be afforded the same protections as people who work on a construction site, or on a regular movie set."

The measure has been strongly criticized by the adult film industry, which warns it could force a multibillion-dollar industry to leave the state.

Industry officials contend that their current safeguards, including routine testing for sexually-transmitted disease, protect performers. The bill would not require that condoms be visible in films and videos, leading some to question how it would be enforced.

"Condoms are made for home environments, normal sex and normal time frames," actress Kayden Kross testified last month before an Assembly committee.

A year after the Los Angeles County requirement was approved, local porn permit applications had plummeted 95 percent.

A study released by the Milken Institute in February found that California has lost more than 16,000 jobs in its mainstream film industry over the past decade, as other states have aggressively used tax breaks to attract productions.

The Assembly is currently considering legislation that would expand California's own film and television tax incentive program.

It's not clear whether California policymakers would similarly mourn if porn producers start to decamp. Rep. Hall argues safety should not be sacrificed in pursuit of "green dollar bills."

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