Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Porn performers protest proposed California regulations

Adult film performers would have to wear condoms under safety regulations that will be voted on today by California’s occupational safety board.
Adult film performers would have to wear condoms under safety regulations that will be voted on today by California’s occupational safety board. The Sacramento Bee file

California’s multibillion-dollar adult film industry is on the verge of entering a brave new world – one in which performers must wear condoms, studios must provide vaccinations and protective eyewear, and there is no sharing of sex toys without a thorough cleaning first.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will vote today on whether to adopt these and other regulations proposed last year to reduce exposure to sexually transmitted infections on porn shoots, 10 a.m. at the Harris State Building in Oakland.

Expect a fiery hearing. The industry has been vocally opposed to the rules, which it argues are overly burdensome and unworkable. Its advocacy group, the Free Speech Coalition – which slammed the proposal as “based in fear and stigma, not science or public health” – is planning to bring more than 100 adult performers to protest the vote.

It’s a continuation of a battle that’s been going on for years – and could take center stage again during the November election. In 2012, voters in Los Angeles County passed a measure requiring condom use in porn, but it’s been held up in court, and several subsequent statewide bills have fallen short in the Legislature. So proponents will take their effort to the state ballot this fall, with an initiative that would enshrine the safe-sex mandate in the state constitution, with fines of at least $70,000 for violations.

ALISO IN WONDERLAND: The massive leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles was finally plugged last week after spewing methane into the atmosphere for 110 days. The California Air Resources Board will hear an update on the impacts of the leak and agency staff’s preparation of a climate change mitigation program, 9 a.m. at the Cal/EPA building on I St. In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency around the leak and demanded that Southern California Gas Co., which owns the facility, cover the cost of greenhouse gas mitigation to offset its effect on the atmosphere.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Joe King, alter ego of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman, is running for U.S. Senate and he’s got one of the best political advisers in the game: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. See what advice Newsom has for King on posing, gesturing and speechifying.

CHIANG OF HEART: State Treasurer John Chiang is now “strongly leaning towards running” for governor in 2018, which is only about one or two steps away from actually running. As we wait for him to throw his name into the ring, he’s making the rounds. After delivering the keynote at a California Business Roundtable event last week, Chiang will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Harry S Truman Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento, 11:30 a.m. at the Sterling Hotel on H Street.

CAP OF ALL TRADES: Though California is several years into its cap-and-trade program, under which polluters pay to offset their carbon emissions, much of the revenue generated remains unspent. Last session, amid faltering negotiations over transportation funding, Brown and lawmakers deferred a discussion on how to allocate more than $1 billion in cap-and-trade money, which must be used for projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Priorities for that fund will be the subject of today’s Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee hearing, which begins upon the adjournment of floor session in Room 4203 of the Capitol.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Math is often not a strength for reporters, which might explain why we were contacted early and repeatedly Wednesday by readers who pointed out that, though it was indeed the birthday of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, she was definitely not turning 58. Our apologies to Melendez, who despite the vicissitudes of public office retains the youthful enthusiasm of a 48-year-old.

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CELEBRATIONS: There’s lots of birthday cheer to spread today. Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, is 68; Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fresno, is 61; and Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, is 52.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jeremy B. White of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.