L.A. County May Adopt New Adult Film Permit Fee Structure

L.A. County May Adopt New Adult Film Permit Fee Structure
Rhett Pardon

UPDATE: The Free Speech Coalition took direct action and sent a letter to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, asking them to postpone the vote on Measure B fees. The trade group also issued a “call to action” to stakeholders for them to show up at the supervisors meeting on Tuesday and express their views on the adult film fee proposal. Alternatively, the FSC suggests that stakeholders write to executiveoffice@bos.lacounty.gov and ask for a postponement of tomorrow's hearing and include perspectives in the process.

LOS ANGELES — Public health officials tomorrow will ask the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to agree on a set of fees to pay for inspections at adult film production sites as part of Measure B, which was passed by voters in 2012.

Those fees, if approved, would require adult film producers to pay $1,672 for a film permit. The fee proposal also would allow charges of $65 per hour for re-inspections, which are made after noncompliance has been found in initial inspections to ensure corrective measures have been put into place.

If supervisors agree on the proposal, fees would become effective on Aug. 1.

The adult film biz has steadily opposed Measure B, saying regular testing of performers for STIs are more effective than condoms. The voter-approved law was designed by its author, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, to ensure barrier protection for all vaginal and anal sex scenes shot in Los Angeles County. 

While the law was passed five years ago, the fee schedule is only now being released because of delays caused of legal challenges by Vivid Entertainment and other plaintiffs over the Measure B regulations. In the suit, the AHF was permitted to step in as a defendant.

The suit, however, was settled after an appeal took the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and landed back in U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson’s courtroom.

In his ruling, Pregerson struck down portions of the law, including a $2,000 to $2,500 permit fee, but he upheld the constitutionality of requiring condoms in adult films and any fee that was “revenue neutral” to cover enforcement costs.

Today, Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, said the adult entertainment trade group continues to oppose the “dubious remnants” of Measure B, including its unenforceable permitting.

“A federal judge ruled that the proposed inspections and enforcement of Measure B were unconstitutional, as it amounted to a general warrant,” Leue said. “He also ruled that the cost of any permit must be tied to their enforcement. Given that the permits can’t be legally enforced, we’re uncertain of the math used to calculate the cost.”

Leue noted that after Measure B passed production fled with it to outlying counties and Nevada.

“Permits fell over 95 percent in the first year alone, and last year only 26 permits were pulled in L.A. County,” Leue said. “That represents well over $2 million in lost revenue for the county. 

“In the wake of the defeat of Prop 60, and the start of a positive and progressive working relationship with Cal/OSHA, we’d like to bring back adult production to L.A. County,” said Leue, noting last week’s decision by state regulators to not act on any proposals to change adult performer rules in regards to bloodborne pathogen safety.

“We’d like to bring back jobs and tax revenue. Voters and public health officials have sided with us. We hope the Board of Supervisors does as well.”

Leue, however, said he was “very concerned” that the board agenda item wasn’t scheduled with any input from either adult performers or producers.

“We’ve been asking to discuss these issues with Dr. Ferrer since her appointment to the Department of Public Health, including when we met in May at the HIV Commission,” Leue said. “We are tremendously disappointed that we have not received any response, nor seen any interest from the Department of Public Health in including the stakeholders in this discussion.”

The adult film permitting fees will be discussed and set for vote at the weekly Board of Supervisors meeting. The board meets at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles 90012.

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