‘Condom Bill’ AB 1576 Passes California Senate Committee, Porn Stars Lament

ab1576-condom

Well, the so-called ‘condom bill’ passed by a single vote today in the California Senate’s Labor & Industrial Committee, which means it moves on to a full Senate vote and could be very difficult to kill at this point — despite the many, very well reasoned arguments against it.

It appears the bill passed with a last-minute vote switch by Senator Alex Padilla, who represents the San Fernando Valley, the home of a ton of straight porn production.

I get that you’re not all on the side of the majority of porn performers in talking about this, and some of you may not get the nuances being discussed because, as all of us were, we’ve spent many years talking about why condoms are good, bareback is bad, and making porn stars safe on sets should be our biggest priority.

And, since most established gay porn studios in San Francisco and L.A. already shoot with condoms and do testing, adhering to this law, if it passes, will not be impossible, but the implications for the larger industry are much greater. And what this will mean for HIV-positive gay performers remains to be seen — it is highly likely they will be out of work.

But the fact remains that this bill is an anachronism that sponsored by an anti-porn crusader. Michael Weinstein hates porn. If you were not aware of that, you should be. He’s playing on the ignorance of politicians here to create an HIV scare that does not exist. Not to mention that the larger porn industry in California has already voluntarily adopted a 14-day testing requirement, using a more accurate testing method with a shorter window of accuracy, than the bill requires.

Should there be some legislation written to protect sex workers from exploitation by their employers? Certainly. But this isn’t that bill, and this could get ugly for the porn industry in California.

So, now we wait and see. And perhaps the bill can still be exposed for what it is in the larger Senate, even though the topic of porn and its industry is one most senators probably want to avoid.

Below, some of the industry reactions so far. (Also, today, prostitution site MyRedBook got shut down by the feds.)

Conner Habib, thus far, is the only one with a positive spin.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

24 Responses to “‘Condom Bill’ AB 1576 Passes California Senate Committee, Porn Stars Lament”

  1. ErikFaust says:

    An excellent recap article by AVN:

    http://business.avn.com/articles/legal/Misinformation-Abounds-at-Senate-Labor-Committee-Hearing-565216.html

    I wish someone would investigate how much money AHF is spending on their California lobbyist, Ran Martin. Is he making $400K a year too like president Michael Weinstein?!? It is more evidence that AHF is now a political machine seeking a pathway to control the sex lives and habits of people. If they have enough money to buy lobbysists and pay for sponsorships of pride festivals, shouldn’t that mean that they have enough money to make sure all people seeking financial assistance to medication have their support?! What about assisting sex works with financial assistance for PrEP?! Sadly, AHF cares more about politics and frivilous PR stunts than focusing on their true mission.

  2. andrew says:

    The bill is a good idea.

  3. Wonderer says:

    I don’t get it what’s so terrible about this?

    • Ex Porn Performer says:

      It takes away freedom of choice for one thing and infringes upon people’s right to chose. You can liken it to a bill against abortions. “My body, my decisions.” Secondly, it’s causing a multi-billion dollar industry that is taxable to move out of California so be aware that there will be an economic downturn do to this. It stigmatized HIV even more so when frankly it is bonl

      • Wonderer says:

        I think your crossing the line by comparing it to abortions…All this bill is doing is making the status of the HIV known to other performers and making studios use condoms. Personally if I was working with a company I would very much like to know, who’s got what and what risk I am taking. It’s not stigmatizing anyone.

        • Former Model says:

          Actually it doesnt even do that much.
          “line 13 (B) That each employee performing in an adult film was tested
          line 14 for sexually transmitted infections, according to the
          line 15 recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and
          line 16 Prevention and the State Department of Public Health current at
          line 17 the time the testing takes place, not more than 14 days prior to
          line 18 filming any scene in which the employee engaged in vaginal or
          line 19 anal intercourse, that the employee consented to disclosing to the
          line 20 Division of Occupational Safety and Health that the employee was
          line 21 the subject of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test, and
          line 22 that the employer paid for the test.”

          It doesnt require that anyone be informed of the results of the testing, only that testing was done. It doesn’t require that the studio, the fellow performer, or any government body be informed of the results. The only requirement that is set is that a performer is tested within 14 days prior to a shoot, and that the employer pay for that test; that the employee consents to disclosing (but not necessarily disclosing, no mandate to disclose, only a mandate to consent to disclose) that they took a HIV test and it was paid for by the employer.

      • tdc says:

        Please remove the sword you’ve just thrust yourself upon. It doesn’t take away anyone’s right to make their own personal choices in the non-public lives, it moderates the image that performers, producers and studios present to the porn consuming population.

        That said, it has a number of OTHER questionable requirements that make this specific bill and it’s language difficult to support.

        • Former Model says:

          It in no way moderates what the consumer sees,
          “This subparagraph shall not be construed to require that the personal protective equipment be visible to the consumer in the finished film.”

          And as far as other questionable things, the legislation is pretty straight forward, condoms must be used for sex. As far as testing, the employer has to pay for it but the results dont have to be shared or be used to disallow someone from working.

    • Lukes says:

      I guess we’ll see it quite soon?

    • Former Model says:

      Nothing terrible about it at all. I’ve done 20+ scenes and completely support this legislation. The legislation really only makes condoms become mandatory, but they technically are already required just not explicitly stated until this legislation. It also requires that a model get tested at the studios expense but doesnt require the disclosure of the results to anyone, so anyone bitching about privacy and stigma needs to shut it.

      Something that people keep bringing up is “I accept the risk by working in the adult industry” However this doesnt have bearing in california. In some states there’s what’s called “assumed risk” for certain employment, where the employee accepts a certain risk by doing the job. California has strong workers rights laws and there is no concept of “assumed risk” in employment. That means that employers are liable for providing a safe workplace with the absolute minimal risk to the employee. That the employee can’t accept any responsibility for risk they are exposed to at work, that any risk is on the employer. In other states where there is assumed risk, an employee can say “I accept the risk” and then have at it, but they also don’t have a case if something happens.

      This legislation is about protecting the employee in a state where there is no “assumed risk”, plain and simple.

  4. Ex Porn Performer says:

    Damn phone caused me to press submit.

    It stigmatizes HIV even more so. It is not at all scientifically based in the least. And there has not been one recorded on set transmission since 2001 of HIV. Not one. There have been hundreds of thousand if not more, recorded sexual acts done on set. The reality is that Weinstein is pushing his agenda and he does not actually give a shit about people with HIV. He’s a fear mongering person who believes it’s the 1980s and treats it as such. With all the new info on how avoid HIV while still have condomless sex this bill is about 30 years too late. PrEP and even people with undetectable viral loads are also used as a prevention technique. Both which reduce the rate of infection to the same percentages if not even more so than condo sex.

    The biggest problem is that it is an infringement upon people’s choice. Their liberties to do with their bodies as they will. As someone who has done over 20 gay porn scenes I find this to be nonsense. I knew exactly what my risk was when I started porn and that’s my choice. It also attacks sex as something to be afraid of which it is not. It is how humans express love, life, and/or pleasure. To empower me and say I don’t know how to conduct my own sexual health is not only degrading but stigmatizing to sex workers.

    • Former Model says:

      I dont see how this stigmatizes HIV. It only requires condom use. It requires testing but doesnt require people to disclose the results.

      YOu say that there hasn’t been one recorded transmission since 2001, last year there were 4 cases where it was suspected to have occurred on set. You also have to consider that not everyone who gets infected will go spreading the word “Hey I got HIV on a porn set” let alone publicly stating “Hey I got HIV”

      This legislation is primarily aimed at clarifying that condoms are to be used. This protects against more than just HIV and is key to understand that this legislation is more broad than just HIV.

      “All the new info about how to avoid HIV”
      The most effective singular prevention method short of abstinence is condoms. PrEP may be highly effective but it’s not perfect. It is a theoretical 99% if taken daily but that is an extrapolation of the data. As several researchers have pointed out, the number of people who took it consistently is such a small sample size that the error rate is high. The CDC states that PrEP is up to 92% effective at reducing transmission. However people fail to take into account those who have a strain of HIV that is resistant to emtricitabine or tenofovir. PrEP is a new technology and as such it can’t be held as the golden standard until its researched more and better understood.

      The information regarding viral loads, while promising, is not conclusive. The CDC states a 96% reduction in transmission when the person has an undetectable viral load. There are always going to be exceptions. Co-infections can cause blips; which can also occur randomly as well making someone who is otherwise undetectable suddenly have a viral load of up to 1500.

      The reason condoms are the gold standard is the amount of research we have on them is much greater and much more established. They also have a 98-99% effectiveness when used correctly (which an employer is required to instruct on according to OSHA regulations regarding employee training.) Further viral loads can vary with time and if you want to use viral loads as a way to ensure that people dont transmit in porn, you have to do a viral load test to confirm they are undetectable before you shoot in the same way that studios currently do normal HIV testing. You are faced with the challenge of ensuring that the performer is compliant with their meds even when they are not on set. Condoms on the other hand are easy to ensure compliance with on set. As for PrEP, the compliance issue comes up again as well as the issue of resistance. You would have to do resistance testing for truvada resistance to ensure that the scene partner doesnt have a strain that would would render the other partner’s PrEP ineffective.

      As for performer’s choice, that is a null point. They are not in their private bedroom, they are at a place of work and must abide by the same workplace rules and regulations that any other industry faces.

      You may have been informed but not everyone is. Theres no “Sex ed test” that you have to take to be a porn performer, no class you have to take, no training to ensure you are aware of the risks, even though these things are mandated by law under proper employee training for those working with potentially infectious material.

      It doesn’t attack sex, the legislation is limited in it’s scope to the workplace, it has no effect on what you do in your own bedroom, it doesnt mandate that the customer see the condoms, in fact:
      “line 7 (A)  That each time an employee performing in an adult film
      line 8 engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse, personal protective
      line 9 equipment was used to protect the employee from exposure to
      line 10 bloodborne pathogens. This subparagraph shall not be construed
      line 11 to require that the personal protective equipment be visible to the
      line 12 consumer in the finished film.”

      Sex may be how people express themselves at times, however in this scope they are not “expressing” they are working and as a worker they are required to have certain protections to ensure they are not injured or harmed at work.

      It’s not stigmatizing to sex workers, in the same way that it’s not stigmatizing for a chemist to wear gloves and goggles when mixing chemicals. It’s a precaution to prevent anything bad from happening.

      I’m curious if you even read the bill

  5. ErikFaust says:

    This is only step one for the anti-porn, anti-sex crusaders. Already there are murmurs of what is to come next and this legislation opens the floodgate to enforcing OSHA standards across the board by enforcing condoms/dental dams for oral sex, dental dams for rimming, no contact with semen whatsoever, banning such things as watersports, fisting, or BDSM play that may cause marking on the skin, etc. The porn industry is under assault again; in the 70′s and 80′s it was Edwin Meese and the Meese Commition out to eradicate “smut,” now it is one single HIV/AIDS organization flexing its political muscle aligning with politicians who are seeking “name fame.”

    • Former Model says:

      That’s a slippery slope argument with no statements of fact. “Murmurs” hardly qualify as true statements; even if that were the case, that legislation would also have to pass through the legislature with arguments for and against being heard.

      You ironically say “opens the floodgate to enforce OSHA standards” admitting that these rules are already on the books, they merely are enforced discretionarily and defined by OSHA instead of by legislative action. This legislation only serves to clarify what qualifies as PPE on a porn set. As far as testing is concerned, section B clearly lays out the role of testing which I explained in a previous comment.

      Also the argument for anti-porn and anti-sex is unfounded. Antiporn would imply that they are trying to destroy porn, in fact the goal is to hold the adult industry to the same workplace safety standards every other workplace is held to. It’s pro-worker safety. It’s not anti-sex, this argument falls flat when you accept that as a workplace it is held to a higher standard than normal consensual activity, it becomes a regulated environment. The legislation plays no role off the porn set and thus cant be generalized as such.

      Several things you mentioned dont seem to hold water and others are silly. As a workplace proper personal protective equipment is required already under the law. This legislation and potential future legislation only serve to clarify what PPE is as opposed to being at the judgment of OSHA. Things like dental dams are hardly irrational given the higher incidence of STIs in performers, and that a dental dam serves the sole purpose of providing a barrier to reduce the transmission rates.

      As far as other things go, WS can be argued either way, it is a sterile fluid as long as the person is free from infection, however testing isnt perfect and as a result it could be argued that even with a culture that WS should not be permitted. Fisting, there really arent arguments against fisting, it’s as simple as wearing a glove and it satisfies the regulations.

      BDSM play would be harder to argue in either direction due to the complexity of its nature, both the potential for actual damage and such. However it could likely be argued that with certain precautions that potential can be minimized or eliminated.

      However I will say this, and this goes for all the aforementioned, that 99% of the time these things can be convincingly faked. If the way to ensure workplace safety is to edit out the barriers or design a barrier that is less visible then I cant see why that’s an impossible task to do. That makeup and effects could be substituted. Not saying its necessarily the best way but it is possible.

      • ErikFaust says:

        Having worked for an adult distribution company that was constantly under attack for years, if not decades, by what ever the government deemed to be a serious matter needing legislation, I stand by my statement. AB1576 is just step one that is already emboldening the anti-porn/anti-sex forces.

  6. Joe says:


    Hopefully SC finds a new home.

    From time to time I feel like going on a killing spree…but it wouldn’t be random targets so…not so much of a spree..

  7. Former Model says:

    People need to learn that theres a massive difference between accepting a risk in your personal life and being in a place of work. In your bedroom the only rules are the rules you make. In a workplace you are subject to the rules of the employer and the government regulations that dictate how certain functions of the work environment are executed, for instance bookkeeping, record keeping, workplace safety, workers comp insurance, etc. There are innumerable regulations about how a business functions and runs. A workplace environment simply can not be compared to a private personal environment.

  8. WallyWorld says:

    What I don’t see in this bill is any language that says studios can not cast guys who are HIV positive. It only says the studios must require testing and keep confidential records but it stops short of saying that people with HIV are not allowed to film scenes. Unless I’m missing something it seems that a guy can test positive and film a scene with condoms.

    • Former Model says:

      Not even that much.
      “line 13 (B) That each employee performing in an adult film was tested
      line 14 for sexually transmitted infections, according to the
      line 15 recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and
      line 16 Prevention and the State Department of Public Health current at
      line 17 the time the testing takes place, not more than 14 days prior to
      line 18 filming any scene in which the employee engaged in vaginal or
      line 19 anal intercourse, that the employee consented to disclosing to the
      line 20 Division of Occupational Safety and Health that the employee was
      line 21 the subject of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test, and
      line 22 that the employer paid for the test.”

      The bill does not require that the results of the testing be disclosed to anyone. Only that the employer pay for them and that they consent to disclosing to the OSHA that the employee was the subject of a HIV test, and that the employer paid for the test. The studio is under no requirement to look at the results let alone restrict models who are serodiscordant from working together. How the studio chooses to act on the fact that they are paying for the model to have an HIV test is solely at the studios discretion and part of their LC 6401.8 Injury and Illness PRevention Plan (IIPP)

  9. Former Model says:

    For the curious this is the full text of the legislation.

    line 1 SECTION 1. Section 6401.9 is added to the Labor Code, to
    line 2 read:
    line 3 6401.9. (a)  (1)  In addition to the requirements of Section 5193
    line 4 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, an adult film
    line 5 employer shall include the following information in an exposure
    line 6 control plan:
    line 7 (A)  That each time an employee performing in an adult film
    line 8 engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse, personal protective
    line 9 equipment was used to protect the employee from exposure to
    line 10 bloodborne pathogens. This subparagraph shall not be construed
    line 11 to require that the personal protective equipment be visible to the
    line 12 consumer in the finished film.
    line 13 (B)  That each employee performing in an adult film was tested
    line 14 for sexually transmitted infections, according to the
    line 15 recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and
    line 16 Prevention and the State Department of Public Health current at
    line 17 the time the testing takes place, not more than 14 days prior to
    line 18 filming any scene in which the employee engaged in vaginal or
    line 19 anal intercourse, that the employee consented to disclosing to the
    line 20 Division of Occupational Safety and Health that the employee was
    line 21 the subject of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test, and
    line 22 that the employer paid for the test.
    line 23 (C)  Any additional information as required by the Division of
    line 24 Occupational Safety and Health.
    line 25 (2)  For purposes of this subdivision, “adult film” means any
    line 26 commercial film, video, multimedia, or other recorded
    line 27 representation made or distributed for financial gain during the
    line 28 production of which performers actually engage in sexual
    line 29 intercourse, including oral, vaginal, or anal penetration.
    line 30 (b)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or impede
    line 31 any privacy rights or reporting requirements as provided under
    line 32 Division 105 of the Health and Safety Code.
    line 33 SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
    line 34 Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
    line 35 the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
    line 36 district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
    line 37 infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
    line 38 for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
    line 39 the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
    line 40 the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
    line 41 Constitution.

  10. ErikFaust says:

    Great article from studies in Canada about viral loads, ART treatment, undetectable status, and possibility of infection from HIV. Science matters, unfortunately both AHF/Michael Weinstein and Isadore Hall choose to disregard science in their efforts to control/legislate the sex industry, otherwise it would have been reflected in AB1576.

    http://www.catie.ca/en/catienews/2014-06-18/quebec-develops-expert-consensus-viral-load-and-hiv-transmission-risk?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=socmed&utm_content=en&utm_campaign=061814

    • Former Model says:

      Did you read the Expert Consnesus?

      To reduce vaginal sex risk from high to negligible or very low:

      -Viral load must be 95% adherence to ART
      -In a stable exclusive relationship
      -Neither partner has STIs or blood borne infections
      -Viral load, STI panel, and blood borne infection testing every 3-4 months for both partners
      -Both partners receive counseling

      In someones personal life, this seems like a valid method of getting rid of condoms if these conditions are met. But for porn, these conditions are simply not met or controllable.

      Ensuring adherence off set is not possible, with high incidents of other STIs in the adult industry you cant ensure that there arent other infections on set.

      They could meet the testing requirement and counseling requirement. They may be able to meet the viral load requirement given there aren’t any blips (which can be spontaneous and unpredictable.) But that simply neglects several of the key characteristics of the requirements.

      Not to mention that the recommendation is for vaginal sex. There opinion regarding anal sex is based on a single preliminary report about a study that is only in it’s second year and will not conclude until 2017.

      Its worth mentioning that of the 1110 couples in the study, 440 are gay. At the 2 year point, 767 couples were left in the study, of those, 16% developed a viral load over 200 and were excluded from the analysis. So yes, the study speaks to 0 transmissions when the person is undetectable, but 16% of these people in a study setting had their viral load rise during the study. The scientists in charge of that study conclude that there is a 1% per year chance of infection (95% confidence) unprotected for anal sex.

      Science is not the drawing of headlines and hype from a single study, let alone an incomplete one. Science takes a variety of sources and compares them with data from a variety of sources to develop a better understanding of how nature works. Its always possible that this study is a fluke. It’s always possible that they experts are wrong.

      I’m not saying that its impossible to transmit if you’re undetectable, that very may well be true. But there simply isn’t enough data and information out there to substantiate this claim with the level of certainty and rigor that it is being portrayed as having.

      • ErikFaust says:

        Science right now is headed towards injectable PrEP which offers multi-week protection from HIV infection with potentially a once-a-month injection. Of course is the largest HIV/AIDS organization doing anything to support this? No. One has to ask why they can run around hiring lobbyists to fight the porn industry, sponsor Pride festivals, afford multi-page ads in gay newspapers…but somehow can’t find the funding for such breakthrough treatment to prevent HIV infection. It is appalling and I simply want to make sure everyone is aware of the truth about AHF.

        • Former Model says:

          Science right now… you mean a single simian based study on SIV? Yes it shows that there is potential but it is far from a definitive where science is headed statement.

          Regardless, my comments are apolitical, simply because there is some promise in a medical technology that is not currently deemed safe, let alone effective in humans, that this technology may become available in several years, does not mean that we should neglect to take precautions in the mean time.

          There are innumerable things to consider regarding the safety (short term and long term) and efficacy (resistant strains) of drugs in such high concentration before any solid statements can be made.

          As far as politics go, why are people only drawing attention to AHF when other organizations like Planned Parenthood (which is even larger) and California Medical Association are supporting the legislation? It seems like a major bias to only target one sponsor of the bill for criticism.

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