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Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION SUPPORTED BY BEYOND AIDS

(Updated at end of legislative session, November 2014)


Beyond AIDS supported four California bills in the 2014 legislature.

Assembly Bill 966 (Bonta): This is a simplification of 2013’s AB 999, to assure that condoms are eventually provided in California’s prisons. Governor Brown vetoed that bill, and former Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed two similar bills during his term. After Schwarzenegger’s second veto, he established a pilot program at one prison that proved to be very successful. Brown’s staff claims that his veto was because he already has the authority to do this, just as Schwarzenegger did at the one prison. So rather than presume to establish new authority for this on the part of the Administration, the new bill merely requires a plan to provide condoms to all the prisons within five years.

Outcome: Bill was passed by Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brown. Click here for the final text of the bill.

Assembly Bill 1576 (Hall): This was another attempt to require adult film actors to use condoms, and for producers to use other infection control precautions. Last year's California bills AB 640 and the subsequent AB 332, both on condoms and other infection control measures for the adult film industry, failed to pass. The same author, Assembly Member Hall, with the same sponsor, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, have introduced this bill as a new, simpler version. The bill requires both condoms and STD testing every 2 weeks for performers, without specifying what tests will be done for which diseases. It also makes note of the fact that current law already requires an exposure control plan for any work situation in which there may be exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, and that this bill  makes specific requirements for such plans for adult film employers. Cal-OSHA has failed to act in over 3 and a half years, and its draft regulations don't include testing.

Outcome: Bill did not pass.

AB 1898 (Brown): This will add to the HIV co-infections that would be reportable and could be discussed among local and state public health officials and with the patient's healthcare provider. Current law (Section 121025 of the Health and Safety Code) permits this only apply for tuberculosis and a few unspecified STDs (syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia). This bill adds hepatitis B and C, and meningococcal infections, occurring in patients who also have HIV. The bill is sponsored by the Health Officers Association of California.

Outcome: Bill was passed by Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brown. Click here for the final text of the bill.

AB 336 (Ammiano): This 2013 bill will make it more difficult for prosecutors to use the possession of condoms as evidence in prostitution cases. It did not make progress due to objections from prosecutors when it was worded more strongly that year, and was revived in 2014 with compromise wording. Naturally, public health advocates want to encourage sex workers to use condoms, but if possession increases their chances of jail time, that has a chilling effect on prevention efforts. The bill requires a hearing in judge's chambers on the issue of use of this evidence before it can be presented openly in court.


Outcome: Bill was passed by Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brown. Click here for the final text of the bill.