Florida May License Strippers

TAMPA, Fla. — Contractors, taxi drivers and real estate agents all have them. Why not strippers?

That’s the argument posed by Scott Bergthold, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based attorney who recently made headlines by helping the city of Scottsdale, Ariz., craft strict strip club legislation that has one famous club owner in the city, none other than Jenna Jameson, heading to court to fight him.

Now Bergthold, whose entire legal practice specializes in defending adult business regulations, is in Florida getting the ball rolling on a new law that would require all strip club employees in Hillsborough County to carry a license.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, officials in Hillsborough already have shelled out $10,000 to a consultant to determine whether such legislation would benefit the state.

How the proposed licenses would be obtained and where they would have to be displayed has yet to be decided, but on the face of the issue the law closely resembles legislation put through in Manatee County, Fla. in September, when local officials began requiring employees at adult bookstores and sex shops to carry county-issued licenses while at work.

Much like the Manatee law, the proposed licensing requirements in Hillsborough are being billed as a way to make adult businesses safer by screening employees for drug offenses or prostitution-related crimes.

But local club owners aren’t convinced, especially since tied to the new license requirements are a host of strict regulations on how strip clubs can operate in the county, including a complete ban on nudity in any establishment that serves alcohol, barring performances from any space smaller than 1,000 square feet and a “no exceptions” policy on touching customers, even if the stripper has her clothes on.

“They've spent millions and millions of tax dollars trying to put me out of business and I'm still here," Joe Redner, owner of Mons Venus strip club in Tampa, told the Times. “That's my job in life, pointing out when they make fools of themselves.”