On the heels of a city-wide ordinance requiring condom use in adult films, Los Angeles County is poised to follow suit with a similar law likely to appear on the November ballot, backers of the plan said Wednesday.
"We do not think young people should be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases as a cost of doing business," said Brian Chase, assistant general counsel of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
AHF, along with FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), commissioned a report (PDF) showing that voters would likely support a county-wide measure.
Based on the survey of 1,046 likely Los Angeles voters, 83 percent were aware of the issue and 63 percent would vote in favor of the measure.
"The most startling result from our point of view was the fact that 83 percent of people polled were knowledgeable about this issue," AHF President Michael Weinstein said.
"When you're running a campaign, your first obstacle is making people aware of the issue, because there is a strong likelihood of people voting no on something they're not aware of," Weinstein said.
While the city's law is based on obtaining a film permit, the county proposal centers on health permits and would affect all of the county's 88 cities with the exceptions of Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon.
Organizers have surpassed 232,153 signatures, the minimum needed by June 5 to appear on the November ballot. They are now working to get a "safety cushion" of 374,000 signatures.
Once obtained, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will have the option to adopt the ordinance as written or put it on the Nov. 6 ballot and let voters decide, said AHF Communications Director Ged Kenslea.
Political support for the issue has been "too hot to handle," and the supervisors will likely send it to the ballot box, Weinstein said.
In the city's case, the council chose to adopt its measure to avoid an election cost of about $4 million, Kenslea said.
Although adult film producers have threatened to relocate in the past, Kenslea thinks the industry's infrastructure is too entrenched in LA.
"I think it's a hollow threat that the industry will leave California," Kenslea said. "I think what they will do is what they've done all along: just ignore the ordinance, which is why there needs to be more methods of enforcement."
Condom use in adult films is already required by state law, although enforcement from California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has been weak, Kenslea said.
"OSHA is mainly a complaint-driven organization, so there hasn't really been teeth to enforce the law," Kenslea said.