It appeared early Wednesday that Los Angeles County voters opted to require adult-film actors to wear condoms while filming explicit sex scenes, NBC4 News projects.
WIth 46-percent of the vote in, the so-called "Safer Sex in Adult Films" initiative was ahead 59 percent to 41 percent, according to the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
Measure B presented LA voters with the latest opportunity to require adult film actors to wear prophylactics during on-screen vaginal or anal intercourse.
In March, Los Angeles became the first city in the nation to require male adult film actors to wear condoms on all film shoots that receive a city permit. Measure B seeks to extend that law countywide.
The measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which could be revoked or suspended if county inspectors found on-set violations of the new law.
According to the measure, anyone on set found to be in violation of the law can be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to six months, or both, adding that each violation found will be punishable as a separate offense.
Producers would have to apply for the permits, prove they completed a training course on blood-borne pathogens and submit a plan for exposure control before they could receive a permit.
The measure cites safer sex practices as the prime method for halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, adding that the "ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections as a result of the making of adult films, has caused a negative impact on the public health and quality of life of citizens living in Los Angeles County."
Actors and producers of adult films vehemently rejected that charge, citing data from the state and local health departments that show a declining rate of HIV/AIDS among residents (see graph below published by the Los Angeles County Dept. of Health).
The majority of funding behind Measure B came from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which poured some $1.65 million into the Yes on B campaign.
AHF’s push to pass Measure B involved an aggressive outdoor advertising campaign. Throughout the county, billboards declared “Pornographers Vote No on B” and inflatable signs urging passersby to support the measure were erected on the roofs of AHF offices.
Opposition to the measure – which drew the ire of many pornographic actors and producers as well as local business associations – was comparatively silent with significantly smaller coffers.
Measure B’s opponents raised some $118,000 with major funding coming from four porn producers – Manwin, Flynt Management Group of Beverly Hills, Vivid Entertainment of Los Angeles and Phe Inc.
Measure B’s opponents held fundraising parties and took to the Internet in the form of public service announcements -- some satirical -- to plead their case.
In those web slots, adult film actors, including porn legend Ron Jeremy, echoed the major sentiment supporting the No on B campaign, namely that actors are required to test monthly for STD’s and HIV, and the adult film industry’s economic role in the county is too important to impose regulations that could stunt business.
The ballot measure was initially spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and members of FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’) after as many as 22 HIV infections believed to be tied to the adult film industry were reported in two outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004.
It also came amid a report that said thousands of sexually transmitted infections occur annually among adult performers, a rate higher than prostitutes in Nevada, where prostitution is legal.