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August 31, 2004 12:00am
Free Speech Coalition-Sponsored Bill Becomes Law
Source: Joan Irvine, ASACP
by: Kat Sunlove, FSC

(SACRAMENTO, CA) -- On Monday, August 30th, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB1894, a pro-business measure authored by Assemblymember John Longville (D-San Bernardino) and sponsored by the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association of the Adult Entertainment Industry.

Originally introduced in 2003 as AB1438, the legislation establishes a non-judicial procedure whereby a business whose records are seized during an investigation may obtain a copy of critical business files in order to continue operating during the course of the investigation. Although the bill passed out of both houses of the legislature last year on a unanimous "aye" vote, Governor Davis still vetoed the measure, saying he did not wish to aid "pornographers" who might benefit from provisions in the law.

Assemblymember Longville, who demonstrated great courage in carrying the bill because of the political risks of being identified with an adult industry-sponsored bill, re-introduced the measure in 2004 as AB1894. The bill again attracted broad business support, spear-headed by the California Chamber of Commerce which had signed on early in 2003. Other supporters in 2003 included the California Retailers Association, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Food and Beverage Association of San Diego. Additional supporters joined on in 2004, including the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Licensed Investigators. After lengthy negotiations with law enforcement during the course of the bill's passage through the legislature, even the office of the Attorney General sent a letter in support of the measure.

"We are grateful to Assemblymember Longville for carrying this important bill and we are proud of our role in getting this legislation into law," stated Kat Sunlove, FSC's Legislative Affairs Director. "Many members of the adult entertainment community are small business owners who may suffer extreme financial setbacks if their business records are seized and held for an extended period. Often no charges are even filed and yet the business can be devastated by such a seizure. We believe that AB1894 will help alleviate this problem."

The bill was originally drafted several years ago by First Amendment attorney Al Gelbard and was "shopped" by lobbyist Sunlove through two legislative sessions before finally getting Longville to agree to carry the measure in 2003.

In the course of its passage through the legislature, the measure faced opposition from the California Association of District Attorneys, the Attorney General's office and other law enforcement groups; Mr. Longville and FSC agreed to a number of amendments to address the concerns of law enforcement without substantially affecting the purpose of the bill.

Contact:
Kat Sunlove, Legislative Affairs Director
Phone: 530-888-1554; 818-348-9373
E-mail: Sunlove@Direcway.com

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