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Adult Ordinance Gains Clout

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Feb 3, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Adult companies in the South continue to battle against pending legislation that could eventually spell trouble for many businesses that have been in place for years, or for those that are looking to set up shop.

Among the many adult companies that could be affected by the new law is Larry Flynt Publications (LFP) and its plan to open a Hustler retail chain along the interstate interchange in Lexington.

But LFP's plans were sidetracked when the Urban City Council swiftly approved a moratorium that would permanently prohibit any new adult stores from opening along interstates.

On the table right now is a proposed ordinance that would put severe restrictions on adult establishments such as strip clubs, adult bookstores, adult novelty shops, and businesses that specialize in adult entertainment items.

According to reports, the ordinance would require employees and some owners of adult entertainment businesses to register with the government. Businesses would be required to close between the hours of 1 a.m. and 9 am, and nude dancers would be required to wear pasties and G-strings.

The ordinance, if approved, would also prohibit nude or semi-nude dancers from being touched by club patrons, or vice versa, and dancers would be required to maintain a 6-foot distance from customers. Tipping would also be prohibited, according to the Courier-Journal.

In its effort to quell a legal uprising from adult entertainment companies affected by the new law, the council has tried to convey that they are not trying to prohibit adult companies from setting up shop in areas that are properly zoned, they are just trying to gain control over the indoor and outdoor environments those types of businesses attract.

Similar attempts have been made in the past to pass laws that restrict adult entertainment companies, but council members and lawyers have been unable to prove to a judge that adult businesses bring crime and prostitution to the neighborhoods in which they are situated.

According to the Courier-Journal, Louisville and Jefferson County have struggled unsuccessfully in the past to draft and pass similar legislation, and there are eleven pending lawsuits over existing and former laws.

The ordinance currently being mulled over by the city council is gaining support from family organizations, activists, and religious groups who oppose the presence of pornography in their communities.

However lawyers representing a slew of adult companies that oppose the ordinance claim that it could potentially harm their businesses if signed into law. They are also threatening to sue if the ordinance is passed.

A lawyer who recently helped draft the legislation told the Louisville City Council that there was a very strong chance the legislation would gain state approval because it closely resembles laws in other U.S. cities like Cincinnati and Nashville.

Although, the Courier-Journal reports that when the council met behind closed doors to discuss the ordinance this week, they may have violated Kentucky's open-meetings law, which requires governmental bodies to conduct public business in public.

Council members are currently denying any wrongdoing and claim that the topic of discussion during their closed-door session was in obeyance with the law.

Under state law, city council members are allowed to discuss pending litigation in closed session, however they are not allowed to discuss pending legislation in private, the Courier-Journal reports.

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