Why are these measures even on the ballot?
By Doug Porter
The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the People.” It doesn’t say “We the Corporations” or “We the Fat Cats.”
I get it. Every person who believes in our representative democracy should be appalled by the Supreme Court (Citizen’s United) decision giving corporate entities the power to fund elections thru super-Pacs under the guise of “free speech.” This needs to change.
Proposition 59 asks California’s elected officials to work to overturn Citizens United, through supporting a constitutional amendment or other means. And if they don’t like what Prop 59 asks them to do, that’s okay, because it’s simply advisory in nature.
Since it’s on the ballot and because I’m personally repulsed by the notion of living in an oligarchy, I’ll vote yes.
But, hey gang, why the heck am I being asked to vote on this and Prop 60? Oh, yeah. Because some people with more money than common sense thought it would be cool.
The California Legislature passed a resolution in 2012 urging Congress to send states a constitutional amendment about Citizens United. It’s been 124 years since Californians voted to tell their representatives and senators to change the U.S. Constitution.
The question of whether such an advisory ballot measure was even allowed kept this off the ballot in 2014. The State Supreme Court eventually said ‘okay.’
Gov. Jerry Brown allowed this measure to qualify for the ballot (twice) without his signature, saying he disagreed with the Citizens United decision, “but we should not make it a habit to clutter our ballots with nonbinding measures as citizens rightfully assume that their votes are meant to have legal effect.”
On the other hand, I read the opposition statement for the ballot and got really pissed off.
Here’s a snip:
Instead, Proposition 59 asks the California members of Congress to change the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Do you really want THIS CONGRESS to tinker with the FIRST AMENDMENT which guarantees and protects:
- Your right to practice your religion?
- Your right to FREE SPEECH?
- Your right to a FREE PRESS?
- Your right to peaceably assemble and associate with others?
- Your right to petition your government?
This statement is so larded up with lies, I’m not even gonna try. But I guess if you’re willing to believe Donald Trump is a great businessman, you’ll believe anything.
I guess it won’t hurt to waste a little ink checking the ‘yes’ box.
Commentary on Proposition 60 follows the FYI section.
For More Information
Ballot Language – CORPORATIONS. POLITICAL SPENDING. FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS. LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY QUESTION.
Asks whether California’s elected officials should use their authority to propose and ratify an amendment to the federal Constitution overturning the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizens United ruled that laws placing certain limits on political spending by corporations and unions are unconstitutional. Fiscal Impact: No direct fiscal effect on state or local governments.
A YES vote would: be asking elected officials to use their constitutional authority to seek increased regulation of campaign spending and contributions. As an advisory measure, Proposition 59 does not require any particular action by the Congress or California Legislature.
A NO vote would: not be asking their elected officials to seek certain changes in the regulation of campaign spending and contributions.
There is no formal opposition to Proposition 59.
Polling: There is no available public polling on Proposition 59
Sex and Condoms Beyond Porn Valley
Adult movie star Tasha Reign is touring college campuses in California this month. Local appearances include UCSD (Monday, Oct. 10) and SDSU (Tuesday, Oct 25).
This excursion through academia isn’t about promoting any films or sex education, and I haven’t heard about any swag being given out.
From LA Weekly:
Reign is taking her message against Proposition 60 to college campuses across Southern California starting this week. She says she wants first-time voters who are in college to understand the “fine print” of the initiative.
“The measure, which requires condoms in all pornographic film shoots within the state, opens up new problems for adult performers already struggling with privacy issues, discrimination and harassment,” according to a statement from Reign. “As a result, film production — which brings millions of dollars to California — will be forced out of state to somewhere more willing to enjoy the industry’s revenue.”
Reign is well versed in the porn industry’s arguments against 60: that it would empower anyone to sue producers over lack of condom use on-set and thus obtain the private addresses of performers; that it would violate the freedom of expression of video makers; and that there have been no HIV transmissions on-set in California since 2004.
California has long been the home of the porn industry. Although some studios have taken their productions on the road following passage of Proposition B in 2012 (requiring the use of condoms in sex scenes) in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley remains a hub for studios and distribution companies.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) requires condom use during sex in pornographic films (the law dates back to 1992) but enforces this requirement only in response to complaints.
The studios say adult performers currently test for HIV/STIs every 14 days, and there have been no HIV cases in the California-based industry in 12 years.
Prop 60 proponents point out that testing is voluntary and may not meet the standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) medical recommendations.
Opponents say Prop 60 takes away STI testing and other safety protocols. Condoms, they say, would remain as the only option. Proponents say condoms can be digitally removed from final productions.
There is something more going on here. Michael Weinstein, The Executive Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the moving force (financially and otherwise) behind Prop 60. Opponents claim the enforcement and legal protocols written into the law would benefit both Weinstein personally and his organization.
Here’s the part that’s really screwy, from the No On 60 website:
If the California Attorney General determines Prop 60 is unconstitutional, Prop 60 grants Michael Weinstein — and only Michael Weinstein — the authority to overrule the California Attorney General and defend the measure in court. He becomes an official agent of the State of California, his legal fees are paid for by taxpayers, and he cannot be removed from this position by a vote of both houses of the California Legislature.
Researching the merits or flaws of Pro 60 was frustrating. One says one thing, the other says that’s not true.
Maybe we’ll be paying State employees to watch porn looking for lawbreakers. Maybe we’ll have a Porn Czar. Maybe the police will come looking for married couples who film intercourse without a condom.
One thing there does appear to be a consensus by opponents is that the measure was poorly written.
California newspapers editorializing on the measure are current running at six to one against it (including the Union-Tribune).
Here’s a snip from the Los Angeles Times editorial:
There’s also a concern this liability would extend to hotels, cable television and other private companies that provide adult films to customers. The lawsuit provision is one of the reasons a number of organizations outside the porn industry, including the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV, Equality California and AIDS Project Los Angeles, have signed on to oppose this measure. It’s also telling that the California Medical Assn., which backed a state bill requiring condom use in the adult industry in 2014, decided to stay neutral on Proposition 60. Both the state Democratic and Republican parties are on record as opposed to Proposition 60 as well.
What unites them — and us — is the belief that Proposition 60 is not the right way to address the safety of this small group of workers. Not when the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety is working to develop safety standards specifically to protect adult-film performers from exposure to blood borne pathogens through bodily fluids.
The industry would like to see regulations that include condoms as one option, along with others such as testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis, a drug regimen that can significantly lower the risk of HIV transmission.
We support rules that make performers in adult films as safe as possible. That’s why we reject Proposition 60 and urge voters to do so as well.
The Peace and Freedom Party supports Prop 60.
Other proponents include: American Sexual Health Association, California State Association of Occupational Health Nurses, California Academy of Preventive Medicine, and Southern California Coalition of Occupational Healthy and Safety
Three political parties are formally opposing Prop 60: Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians.
The Courage Campaign, Equality California, Transgender Law Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Los Angeles LGBT Center, San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the san Francisco Medical Society are among the opponents to Prop 60.
Side Note: The Voice of San Diego’s Sara Libby interviewed an adult performer who lives in Hillcrest who is opposed to Prop 60. It’s worth a read.
I’ll end with the question I started with: Why is this even on the ballot?
For More Information
Ballot Language – ADULT FILMS. CONDOMS. HEALTH REQUIREMENTS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
A YES vote would: Place additional workplace health and safety requirements on adult film productions in California and create additional ways to enforce those requirements.
A NO vote would: Continue current state and local workplace health and safety requirements on adult film productions in California, including the rules now interpreted to require condom use in adult film productions.
Polling: A September USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of registered voters indicated 55% support, 32% opposition and 13% undecided.
Key Dates for the November 8, 2016 General Election –> pic.twitter.com/uEQEgPKHRk
— CA SOS Vote (@CASOSvote) September 12, 2016
For information on the November 2016 General Election, see our San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide
Other San Diego Free Press coverage of the 2016 general election.
Tomorrow: Proposition 61. Will Big Pharma pull the wool over your eyes? We’ll be writing about various state and local contests Monday-Friday for the next two weeks.
On This Day: 1930 – Laura Ingalls became the first woman to make a transcontinental airplane flight. 1962 – “Love Me Do” by the Beatles was released in the U.K. It was their first single. 2004 – Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, won a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years.
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