Lawmaker declares war on highly lucrative state industry

Feb. 15, 2013

By Chris Reed

measure_bSo let’s get this framed correctly: California is the leader in a form of home entertainment that is immensely popular around America and the world, for better or worse. If California adopts rules that wipe this industry out, it is 100 percent certain to move to other other states and continue flourishing — and with the same seemingly minor health downsides that led the Golden State to push the industry away. So moral posturing by California leaders will achieve nothing but destroying jobs and driving an unsavory but legal and very profitable state industry to other states and nations.

Stupid, right?

But this is California. Stupid moralistic posturing is what we do best.

So first Los Angeles County voters declared war on this industry. And now, according to the Contra Costa Times, a lawmaker thinks that it is the state Legislature’s turn.

“Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, D-Los Angeles, announced he’s holding a news conference … to introduce a bill requiring condom use in all adult films produced in California.

“Hall will be joined by Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Darren James, a former adult film actor who contracted HIV while working in the porn industry. The assemblyman’s news release said his bill would ‘provide statewide uniformity needed to ensure that the thousands of actors employed in this multi-billion dollar industry are given reasonable workplace safety protections needed to reduce exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.’

“About 57 percent of Los Angeles County voters in November approved Measure B, requiring the use of condoms in all adult films produced within the county.

“The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation conducts regular screenings of porn performers, which has minimized the spread of HIV and other diseases. But James was believed to have contracted the virus during a film shoot in Brazil, and transmitted it to several actresses here in California before he tested positive a few weeks later in 2004.”

Notice the economic ignorance on display in Hall’s legislation, specifically the presumption that “this multi-billion dollar industry” will stay in California once it faces regulations that are unusual in its niche field and that won’t be the norm elswhere.

Posturing vs. facts vs. unexpected consequences

But Sacramento is so mindbogglingly stupid that recent governors and a majority of legislators believe higher energy costs are good for the economy, so who knows? Maybe they think smut will bloom once it is micromanaged by state bureaucrats.

Here’s what the rational people sound like — namely, the First Amendment defender, the Libertarian Party official, the businessmen and the physicians who wrote the ballot statement against Los Angeles County’s condom measure:

“Every single actor is tested at least monthly. In 8 years, not one has contracted HIV on a set anywhere in the U.S. In fact, by driving film productions underground where there is no testing and no industry regulations, actors would be less safe, not more.”

No real health issues? Possible unexpected consequences? Who cares! Let’s regulate.

As a libertarian, I feel like this is a no-brainer. I honestly would be surprised if any rational person of any ideology who detaches the factual details (exaggerated problem, ease of industry exit, legality of conduct) from the moral preening (it’s porn!) thinks a Los Angeles County or state ban makes sense. I know they might not say this in public because it’s easily smearable and easily mocked. But in their heart of hearts, or their brain of brains, smart people have to know it’s true.

Jobs are good. Losing jobs? Bad.




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