New Louisiana Anti-Adult Ordinance Could Be National Model

John Stuart
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A model ordinance recently adopted by the Tangipahoa Parish Council and crafted in part by the Alliance Defense Fund could become the model used by cities across the country to restrict or prohibit adult stores, according to legal experts.

The law, adopted during a Council meeting on Nov. 13, took effect immediately. It outlines what owners and employees of sexually oriented businesses (SOB) may or may not do, and it enacts permit and licensing requirements, criminal background checks, hours of operation limitations, and health code, architectural and sign requirements.

“I think we’ve had half a dozen municipalities or parishes in Louisiana that have adopted this in the last year and a half,” ADF senior legal counsel Mike Johnson told XBIZ. “The courts, from the Supreme Court down, have confirmed that [the model ordinance] is constitutional for local governments to do this.”

Johnson said the ordinance was written so that it could be used in a wide variety of states, and to facilitate its use, the Scottsdale-based ADF has placed it on its website..

“We actually have a whole division of the ADF that’s dedicated to assisting local governments in regulating in the SOB context,” Johnson said. “The model ordinance we have online is essentially the same as what Tangipahoa passed. Each local government modifies it slightly to fit their own needs, so it’s been used elsewhere across the country.”

Kansas City, Mo. is one of the cities where the model legislation recently has been used, adopting it last Tuesday, according to Johnson.

“The idea is that local attorneys can download the model, and really we’ve done all the hard work for them,” Johnson said. “In that regard, we may never be 100 percent certain how many have used it, because we only get involved with the ones who call us for assistance.”

Johnson said the purpose of the model legislation is to eliminate or limit the harmful secondary effects of adult stores.

“We aimed at SOB, which is kind of unfortunate, because that makes me the SOB lawyer,” Johnson said. “But limiting the harmful secondary effects is what makes it lawful,”