Proposition 60, the measure requiring use of condoms in adult films, has a couple of noteworthy provisions that could be precedent setting for future initiatives–one not so good; the other, interesting and different, if perhaps unconstitutional. One item deals with enforcement of the condom law and reinforces the idea of citizens substituting for government agencies to bring lawsuits against business concerns. The other deals with punishment for initiative proponents for bringing forth an invalid initiative.
The lawsuit provision allows any resident to complain about a violation of the condom requirement to Cal/OSHA for safety violations. If Cal/OSHA doesn’t act within a certain time period, the citizen can file a civil action against the film producer and recover 25% of any penalties assessed. In other words, every citizen in the state could become a bounty hunter for violations of the law Prop 60 hopes to put in place.
One can imagine a conversation in the home around the viewing of an adult film. “Really, honey, I’m only watching this to see if there’s a violation of the law so we can sue and make some money!”
Allowing anyone to file a lawsuit in place of a regulatory or law enforcement agency is a danger of exploding legal actions against businesses that piggybacks on the public attorney general laws already in effect.
Even stranger is the provision that says, in essence, the proponent of the condom initiative shall be find $10,000 if a final court finds the law is unconstitutional or invalid. Basically, the author is punishing himself for wasting taxpayers’ money.
I’ve been told that the provision is seen as a counterbalance to the idea that the initiative allows for the civil lawsuits brought by non-governmental agencies. I don’t see the two features balancing each other out.
Looking at the November ballot, there is a certain appeal of seeing proponents punished for wasting voters’ time with a long ballot. Yet, the $10,000 fine will not discourage potential proponents who plan to spend a million dollars or more qualifying a measure for the ballot. Further, the section is probably a violation of First Amendment free speech rights.