No, No, No, Hell No on 60

Proposition 60 is an initiative statute which, broadly speaking, requires performers in adult films to use condoms during filming, and requires producers of adult films to (a) obtain a state license, and (b) pay for performers to get vaccinations, testing, and medical exams. It also imposes a financial liability for violations, and allows *any state resident* to bring suit to enforce the violations. The measure was placed on the ballot by citizen activists, and it is opposed by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, as well as by the only adult film performer organization in the state.

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Proposition 60 changes the Labor Code in the following ways:

* it requires adult film producers to “maintain engineering controls and work practice controls sufficient to prrotect adult film performers from exposure to blood and any other potentially infectious material-sexually transmitted infections.”

* it requires adult film producers to require their performers to use condoms and condom-safe water-based or silicone-based lubricants

* it requires adult film producers to comply with any other reasonable work practice controls imposed by a newly created regulatory board

* it requires adult film producers to pay for STI prevention vaccinations, tests, and medical follow up for their performers

* it requires adult film producers to comply with HIPAA in regards to their performer’s health data

* it allows performers to sue for violations of the above, either in an individual suit or a class-action suit, and obtain damages of up to $50,000.

* while it does not require condoms to be *visible* in the films, it explicitly allows a jury to assume that if condom’s aren’t visible, they weren’t used (and puts the burden on the film producer to prove that they were).

In addition, it creates a reporting structure:

* within ten days after starting to film, a producer must notify the state (in writing) of (a) the address of the filming, (b) the dates of the filming, (c) the name and contact information of the producer, the custodian of records, and any talent agency who referred performers, and (d) a sworn statement saying the film complies with the rules

* the adult film producer must pay a fee of at least $100

* failure to provide this information on time is punishable by a $1000-$7000 fine

* lying when providing this information is subject to a $70000 fine

And it creates a licensing structure:

* within ten days after starting to film, a producer must apply for a license, with a fee of at least $100

* issuance of the license is a ministerial task which can only be suspended or denied upon a showing that the producer has violated the health and safety rules within the last 12 months

* making an adult film without a license is punishable by a $25/day fine, which increases to $50/day for producers who had previously violated the health and safety rules
And it allows anyone to sue:

“any person who violates any provision … shall be liable … bia a civil action brought by the division or its designee, a civil prosecutor, an adult film performer aggrieved by a violation of Section 6720, or an individual residing in the State of California.”

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The proponents of the law are behind it for a simple reason: they believe it will protect performers from disease. “Thousands of cases of diseases — which can spread to the larger community — have been documented within the adult film industry in recent years”.

You’d think that performers would be in favor of that, but performer activist organizations aren’t. They, and the organized opposition to the measure, think that it will drive the adult film industry out of the state.

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I will be voting against this measure. I think it’s well intentioned – requiring condom use and mandatory STD testing and vaccination in the adult film industry is *a good idea* – but this is a terrible vehicle for it.

One of my problems is its scope. It applies to “any perosn that makes, produces, finances, or directs one or more adult films filmed in California and that sells, offers to sell, or causes to be sold such adult film in exchange for [anything of value]” – which is to say, amateur films which are posted on advertising-supported websites probably qualify. This is an amazingly broad sweep; taken literally, a couple which produces a film of themselves having sex and trades it to a friend who has produced his own equivalent tape *is in violation of this law* if they didn’t obtain a license and notify the state within ten days of making the film.

This is insane.

Another problem is the enforcement scope. It allows *any person* who watches an adult film and doesn’t see the use of condoms to sue on behalf of the performers and force the producer to prove that condoms were used.

This is insane.

Another problem is the low liability limit. If a performer contracts HIV because this provision was violated, he can sue for at most $50,000, which is … nothing compared to the cost of his treatment. More galling still, the excessive cost of treating HIV is one of the things *specifically called out* in the argument for the measure … but the measure doesn’t sufficiently cover that case.

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Prop. 60 is a terrible law written in a good cause. It allows harassment of adult film producers by any viewer, and it requires producers of amateur sex videos to register with the state.

It deserves to be defeated by the widest possible margin.

Yes on 58

Proposition 58 is a substantial revision to a previous proposition, Proposition 227 (passed in 1998), which would, in effect, nullify most of the previous proposition.

Disclaimer: I voted against Proposition 227.

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Proposition 227 added a new Chapter to Part 1 of the Education Code, encompassing sections 300-340.

The new chapter included the following changes to state law:

* it required that the teaching of English be done primarily in English, rather than using a student’s primary language as a scaffolding for teaching English
* it required English learners to be taught using “sheltered English immersion” for at most a year, at the end of which time, they would be moved to regular English-language classes.
* it encouraged school districts to mix English learners of different primary languages in the same classrooms

The new chapter allowed the following exceptions, with annually-renewed written parental consent (but required that such consent could only be obtained after the parents *personally visited the school*):

* Children whose language skills were above average for their grade level could opt out of the immersion program
* Children over the age of 10 could opt out of mainstreaing
* Children with special needs who tried a regular English classroom for at least 30 days and the school principal and educational staff determined that due to special needs, mainstreaming would not work

(The full text of Proposition 227 is still available at http://vigarchive.sos.ca.gov/1998/primary/propositions/227text.htm)

Proposition 227 passed by a 61-38 majority.

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Proposition 58 effectively replaces the entire text of the chapter.

* school districts must provide all pupils with the ability to become proficient in English
* school districts must provide structured English immersion programs
* school districts are encouraged to make native English speaking students proficient in another language
* school districts must solicit input on, and provide to pupils, a variety of instructional methods including “language acquisition programs”
* “language acquisition programs” can include dual-language immersion or transitional programs which use a student’s native language to provide academic instruction, as well as structured english immersion programs

* parents may choose the language acquisition program of their choice (the mandatory visit, the written consent, and the limits on who can get a waiver are repealed)

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As someone who doesn’t follow education industry politics, I have an obvious first question: why now? Proposition 227, which I opposed, was passed by a sizable majority; what’s happened in the ensuing eighteen years to cause this proposition to be placed on the ballot, and to cause it to be winning in a landslide according to recent polling data (http://www.field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/Rls2551.pdf)?

There’s some evidence that this is in part due to a lack of memory; the Field Poll, linked above, shows that the proposition leads 69-14 if you just read the ballot label, but that it *fails* if you mention Proposition 227 first and describe it as a repeal of Proposition 227.

But while lack of memory is enough to explain why people aren’t rallying to the angry defense of a proposition from two decades ago, it doesn’t explain what’s behind the push for the measure.

As usual, the VIG’s arguments for and against are unhelpful. The argument for says that this is needed to enable “up-to-date teaching methods” and thereby would make California’s population better able to handle the rapidly changing world brought about by modern technology.

The argument against denounces Proposition 58 as a dishonest trick and a scam, which is odd because the proposition seems quite straightforward in terms of what it’s trying to do.

Still, the argument against gives a hint as to what is going on. The argument against calls back to a memory of a time when limited english speakers were “forced into spanish-almost-only” classes which made it easy for Spanish-speaking students to skate and never learn English while incentivizing native speakers of other languages to learn Spanish rather than English. To the extent that that gloomy scenario was real, Proposition 58 threatens to *restore* it, and is only an idea the public can entertain because Proposition 227 succeeded in making the problem go away.

If it was a real thing and not a paranoid fear. I voted against in part because I thought it was more paranoid fear than reality, and in part because I believed that dual language immersion can sometimes be a better approach, and thought it was folly to prohibit the use of a better approach.

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For people who voted in 1998, it seems to me that your vote should be controlled by how you voted then. Unless there is some new information you can point to which has changed your mind on the issue, if you voted ‘Yes’ on 227 you should vote ‘No’ on 58, and vice-versa, because Proposition 58 is in essence a repeal of Proposiition 227.

If you have new evidence that has caused you to change your mind, I’d like you to share it, because I’m too distant from the situation to have acquired such information.

If you didn’t vote in 1998 and therefore have never voted on this issue before, it seems to me that the fundamental questions are:

* do you believe that dual-language immersion and transitional native-language instruction is a useful tool that can help people learn English? If you do not, then you should vote no on this measure.

* do you believe that dual-language immersion and transitional native-language instruction can be used in the public schools in a way that doesn’t devolve into the “almost spanish-only instruction” nightmare scenario the official opponents envision? If you do not, then you should vote against this measure.

* do you believe that non-english instruction is per se problematic in a public school, even if it is useful and can be done in a way that avoids the parade of horribles? if so, then you should vote against this measure.

Otherwise, I think, you should vote for it.