Los Angeles County Grants Preliminarily Approval for Ordinance To Require Permits for Bathhouses, Sex Clubs
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to grant preliminary approval for an ordinance that would require bathhouses and sex clubs to obtain health permits to operate, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ordinance would allow unannounced health inspections during prime business hours and require establishments to post an explanation of the law, provide condoms and offer HIV testing and counseling. Under the ordinance, permits would be revoked if clubs allow patrons to have unprotected sex.
The county currently has the authority to close such establishments that allow customers to engage in unprotected sex, but health officials say that the law is not specific enough and is difficult to enforce because patrons avoid such behavior during health inspections, according to the Times.
The board tentatively approved the law after hearing testimony in support of the measure from several AIDS prevention organizations and commercial sex venue patrons. According to the Times, no bathhouse owners testified against the measure.
The county board of supervisors must vote on the proposal again next week for final county approval.
The Los Angeles City Council must approve the rules before they can take effect because the county's nine known bathhouses and two sex clubs are within the city limits.
A spokesperson for City Council President Alex Padilla said that Padilla had not been contacted by county supervisors about the proposal.
Stephen David Simon, the city's AIDS coordinator, said that his office would encourage the city council to approve the measure, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 9/8).