AP: Bill to regulate strip clubs in Kansas resurfaces

1/30/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are again being asked to consider legislation that would restrict where strip clubs can operate and what goes on inside, two years after the most recent bid to further regulate the clubs died in the state Senate.

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are again being asked to consider legislation that would restrict where strip clubs can operate and what goes on inside, two years after the most recent bid to further regulate the clubs died in the state Senate.

The revived measure would regulate where adult businesses can be located, and ban lap dances and dancing onstage in various levels of undress, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Tuesday.

Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, said Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, brought the bill to his committee, which plans to hold a hearing on it on Feb. 14. Siegfreid said he's not sure how much support it would have.

"I have not made an absolute decision on if we're going to work it this year or not," Siegfreid said.

The measure, dubbed the "Community Defense Act" by supporters, bans nudity in adult arcades, bookstores, video stores, cabarets and movie theaters, and has very specific language about what nudity entails. The bill allows for semi-nude dancing if dancers are "on a fixed stage at least 6 feet from all patrons and at least 18 inches from the floor in a room of at least 600 square feet." Contact with patrons is prohibited.

When the bill last appeared in Kansas in 2010 and 2011, it passed the House but died in the Senate, which has since become more conservative since last year's Republican primaries.

Missouri strip club owners, who say a similar law has hurt their revenues, challenged that measure in court, but the Missouri Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in 2011.

Opponents of the Kansas measure say it could cost as many as 1,000 jobs as adult businesses close.

Phillip Cosby, director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, which supports the measure, said the targeted businesses "have a negative impact on communities." Cosby also said the bill's chances depend on whether the current Legislature "takes social issues as seriously as they do revenue issues."

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