LA City Council Seeks State Cover to Tie Condoms to Film Permits

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council today adopted a resolution to be included in the city’s 2011-12 State Legislative Program to create a mechanism of local enforcement in the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and workplace standards for the adult film industry. Specifically, the city wants to move forward in its attempt to tie the use of condoms to the issuance of film permits by FilmLA, Inc., the quasi-governmental body that issues such permits in Los Angeles city and county, as well as several other neighboring cities.

Submitted Monday by Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller for consideration today by the council, the resolution, introduced by councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Paul Krekorian, contains two main components:

1. Legislation to amend Section 5193 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations to specifically include the word "condoms" as a form of barrier protection, which would be required by adult film performers in situations covered by this code section; and

2. Legislation or administrative action requiring the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to enter into an agreement in writing with the Department of Industrial Relations (or an agency authorized by it to enter into such agreement) to create a mechanism of local enforcement in the administration and enforcement of any occupational safety and workplace standards for the adult film industry, as covered in Labor Code Section 144.

Today’s move by the city council comes after the City Attorney submitted a report in April recommending that “the [film] permit language remain unchanged” and that the state, and specifically Cal/OSHA, “occupies the [blood borne pathogen] field,” and is clearly intended to address the reservations contained in the report.

According to a summary contained in Miller’s report, “The [Alarcon-Krekorian] Resolution… states that according to Labor Code Section 144, local agencies are allowed to assist in the administration and enforcement of any occupation safety or health standard, as long as such an agreement is established in writing with the Department of Industrial Relations. The Resolution states that the City transferred all of its authority over health enforcement to the County; therefore, any such agreement would be entered into by the County. The City supports legislation that further enhances the safety of the workplace.”

According to Section 5193 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, “Each employer having an employee(s) with occupational exposure as defined by subsection (b) of this section shall establish, implement and maintain an effective Exposure Control Plan which is designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure and which is also consistent with Section 3203.”

The section defines "Occupational Exposure" as “reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties.”

Regarding the types of “personal protective equipment” currently required by the law, to which condoms would now be added, “The employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, face shields or masks and eye protection, and mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, pocket masks, or other ventilation devices. Personal protective equipment will be considered 'appropriate' only if it does not permit blood or OPIM [other potentially infectious materials] to pass through to or reach the employee's work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.”

In response to a request for comment, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke said, “With established standards, the adult production industry has been highly successful in preventing HIV and STI transmission within the industry.  The issue of mandatory condoms has come before the state legislature a number of times and has failed.  When AIDS Healthcare Foundation attempted to sue L.A. County for not requiring condoms, the lawsuit was dismissed and the County referred to STI’s in the adult productions as a ‘non issue.’ 

“And, the L.A. City attorney has already advised against using the permitting process to mandate condoms,” she added. “Moreover, Cal/OSHA is currently conducting fact-finding hearings on the issue in which the adult entertainment industry is actively involved.  It is absurd to be wasting the Council’s time and resources on an issue that is currently under consideration by the state.”

Tomorrow, the Free Speech Coalition will be holding an industry-wide meeting during which it will outline details for Adult Production Health and Safety Services (APHSS), the new program created to fill the gap left by the closure of the AIM clinic earlier this month.

The APHSS meeting takes place at 1 pm, at the Sportsmen's Lodge located at 12833 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604. This meeting is for industry members only and is not open to the general public. Following the meeting at 3:30pm, a press conference will be held in the same location.

The resolution passed today by the Los Angeles City Council can be accessed here.