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September 12, 2016

'Sacramento Bee' Joins Chorus Against Prop 60

SACRAMENTO—In a biting editorial published Sunday, the California capital's leading paper, The Sacramento Bee, firmly and conclusively advocated voting against Proposition 60, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-backed initiative going before California voters in November that would mandate condoms in porn productions statewide. Under the headline "Prop. 60: How hardcore do we want to get in policing porn?" the Bee's editorial board presented a thoroughly even-handed argument for what makes the measure so troublingly Draconian, digging in right from the second paragraph: "Unfortunately, this initiative is a bit like its Los Angeles-based proponent, activist Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation—well-meaning, but so litigious that even sympathizers are unsettled. Most mainstream AIDS organizations and both major political parties in California oppose it. So must we." Commenting on the power Prop 60 gives citizens to sue anyone with a financial interest in a production that violates it, the piece observed, "It's an interesting idea, but surely we aren't so far gone that we want to start offering bounties and inviting frivolous lawsuits." It continued, "If the industry were huge, willfully ignored by authorities, or the source of widespread and urgent public health risk, we might condone desperate measures. Lawsuits can be useful when regulation fails. But the best estimates put the California porn workforce at only around 2,000 people, who increasingly work not at studios but for themselves, posting their products on websites." In perhaps its most damning excerpt, the piece went on to assert that "an all-out war, in the courst and by the state, on an industry that already operates at the fringe could just drive performers further underground and make them less safe. And public health-wise, porn isn't a major driver of HIV/AIDS here. It has been 12 years since a new HIV/AIDS case was documented on a porn set, and new cases in general in California have been declining for 15 years." The editorial goes on to criticize the provision of Prop 60 that would give Weinstein a taxpayer-funded state job of defending it in court should it be challenged, from which he could not be fired without a majority vote of both legislative houses. "All workers should be protected, but that's why we elect an attorney general and pay Cal/OSHA," the piece concludes. "Other proponents don't write state jobs for themselves into their measures. We share Weinstein's frustration, but Proposition 60 is a legal overreach and too hardcore." Read the full editorial here. 

 
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