A must-read Op/Ed by Eric Paul Leue at Huffington Post —
On Monday, Aug. 4, the California Senate Committee on Appropriations heard final testimonies from proponents and opponents of A.B. 1576. They will go into a vote on the bill by Aug. 15.
The bill intends to add section 6401.9 to the California Labor Code to protect employees of the adult film industry from exposure to, and infection by, sexually transmitted infections.
HIV/AIDS Organizations Oppose AB 1576
On Aug. 1 the Los Angeles LGBT Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles and Project Inform (San Francisco) addressed a joint letter to Chairman Kevin de León of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee to express their opposition and urge the committee to reject this bill (Aaron Fox of the Los Angeles LGBT Center represented the three organizations at the hearing):
Passage of AB1576 sets a dangerous precedent for expanding state-mandated HIV testing, could result in discriminatory hiring practices and further stigmatizes people living with HIV/AIDS.
The letter pointed out that A.B. 1576 not only would infringe on privacy and individual rights to decline testing by expanding state-mandated HIV testing, assault long-standing workplace protections, and fail to comply with protections included in federal and California legislation (ADA and FEHA) but is inconsistent with already existing health and safety regulations.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy, the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance and the Positive Women’s Network-USA have also submitted letters of opposition.
Assembly member Isadore Hall first introduced A.B. 1576 in January 2014. This bill follows his earlier attempts with A.B. 640, which died in appropriations, and A.B. 332, which was declared unconstitutional.
The adult film industry and many advocacy groups like the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) and the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) oppose the bill. Over 650 performers signed a petition, and many of them spoke against the bill in hearings. It is considered to be a statewide version of L.A. County’s Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, also known as L.A. County’s Measure B, which was approved with 56.96 percent of the vote in 2012.
The L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and its president, Michael Weinstein, are the most prominent supporters of the bill, despite their historic opposition to mandatory testing spanning from 1986 to 2004.