Last November, voters in Los Angeles County approved a measure requiring the use of condoms on the set of pornos shot in the county. Predictably, the mandate was quickly challenged in a lawsuit, both for the broad powers of enforcement and on free speech grounds. Over the summer, a court rejected the free speech claim but did rule to narrow the powers of health inspectors tasked with targeting porn sets, requiring, among other things, warrants and judicial review. The county did not appeal the ruling. Nevertheless, some porn companies have been driven out of LA, and California altogether, and permit requests in Los Angeles county have plummeted. The Huffington Post reports:
The LA County Department of Public Health told HuffPost that 11 porn companies have been issued public health permits since January. And yet there are many more adult film organizations in LA, where an estimated 90 percent of porn movies in the U.S. are made.
Industry insiders say that many adult film companies have not applied for public health permits, adding that even those who have a public health permit have yet to be inspected by the county. County officials did not respond to HuffPost's inquiry as to whether the department has conducted any inspections of porn sets.
So it could be that porn producers are still in LA and just filming without either public health or film permits. That's what Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, thinks is happening, even though industry officials like [Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane] Duke insist otherwise.
Weinstein, who authored the condom mandate, has been very critical of LA County for not enforcing the law. Without enforcement, porn companies don't feel the need to use condoms on set, Weinstein said to HuffPost.
"Would people speed more," he added, "if they knew they wouldn't get caught?"
Weinstein refuses to acknowledge the civil liberties implications of his puritan nanny state crusade. When the county declined to appeal the court's ruling on the condom mandate, Weinstein told the Huffington Post that county officials "obviously have a callous disregard to the will of 1.6 million voters… The department is bureaucratic and lazy. They want to do as little as possible."
Weinstein and his fellow crusaders, though, want to do as much to drive porn out of Los Angeles, and California, as possible, with state lawmakers looking at regulations that would require the use of safety goggles on porn sets where contact with bodily fluids is likely (all of them?). Supporters and fetishists of porn regulation and enforcement look ever more likely to regulate and enforce the entire industry completely out of their reach.
Reason TV previewed the condom mandate last year: