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Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 60, Condoms In Pornographic Films

Proposition 60.
California Counts
Proposition 60.

Proposition 60 places specific language into law mandating use of condoms in porn films See a list of all our proposition explainers here.

California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio to report on the 2016 election. The coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what's important to the future of California.

The basics

Technically speaking, California law already requires porn actors to use condoms. Worker safety laws say employees must be protected from contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids, like blood and semen. Cal/OSHA, the workplace enforcement agency, already interprets this to mean that porn producers should require actors to use condoms on film sets. But producers have largely ignored the regulation and enforcement has been minimal.


What you're voting on

Proposition 60 is the latest of several attempts by Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, to place specific language into California law mandating condoms in porn films. If condoms are not visible in films, Proposition 60 would allow Cal/OSHA to pursue enforcement action, and allow any California resident to sue porn producers and distributors if Cal/OSHA doesn’t act. (The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also backed Proposition 61, which deals with prescription drug costs.)

At Weinstein’s urging, Cal/OSHA took up the issue of condoms early in 2016, drafting detailed regulations that were opposed by the adult-film industry as being overly restrictive. Hundreds of porn actors, directors and producers protested at a public meeting, saying they weren’t consulted in the drafting of these regulations. They demanded their input when officials write laws intended to regulate the business in which they make their living. Cal/OSHA agreed to scrap its regulations and start the process over, this time in consultation with industry representatives.

Now comes Proposition 60, which the industry had no input in drafting. The industry is vehemently opposed to the initiative. They argue that the condom requirement would kill their business or drive it underground or out of state. The majority of porn films in the world are produced in California. After Los Angeles residents approved a similar measure in 2012 — also pushed by Weinstein — permits for X-rated film production in the city dropped dramatically.

Proposition 60 would have minimal financial impact on the state’s health programs, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. However, if porn production companies do leave California, the state would lose several million dollars a year in tax revenue.


Who are the opponents?

Opponents also argue there are other ways to protect porn actors from sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV in particular, by requiring frequent routine testing, and by prescribing PrEP, a daily HIV prevention pill.

Studies have shown PrEP to be highly effective, but Weinstein has been an unusual voice within AIDS activist circles in opposing it, calling it at one point a “party drug.” He says condoms are the best form of prevention.

Fiscal impact — by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

It is difficult to say exactly what would happen if the law passes. If companies and individuals making pornography decide to move out of California, state and local governments would likely lose several million dollars in taxes. The cost to enforce the law would be around $1 million each year. This cost would mostly be paid for by fees on adult film producers.

Supporters say — by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

  • The current law requiring condoms is not being followed by adult film producers.
  • Proposition 60 would protect adult film performers from the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Opponents say — by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

  • Adult performers are already tested frequently for diseases. Proposition 60 is not necessary.
  • Married couples who distribute films produced in their homes could be sued.

How much is being spent on the campaigns?