Sex Signage Could Be Banned

Gretchen Gallen
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A bill that places a statewide ban on billboards promoting sex clubs, sex shops, and strip clubs got final approval from the Missouri Legislature Friday.

A few free speech advocates were vocal in their opposition to the bill, but it still managed to clear the House, the Senate, and is now awaiting Missouri Gov. Bob Holde's signature.

The ban will apply to a one-mile radius from Missouri highways and will give existing adult billboards three years to phase out of existence, whereas all new billboards advertising adult entertainment business will be prohibited under the state law.

According to reports from the Department of Transportation, there are an estimated 12,000 billboards along Missouri state highways, although the number of adult-themed billboards has not been determined.

The idea for the ban came on the heels of repeated complaints from parents who felt that the highway signs were offensive and exposed children to sexually explicit images.

"Television you can turn off, radio you can turn off. ... Billboards are not selective. They're there," said one lawmaker in favor of the bill.

If Holde signs the bill, adult businesses in the state would only be allowed two signs: one showing the name of their business, and another sign containing a warning to minors to stay off the premises.

One Missouri lawmaker, Republican Rep. Bob Johnson, remains steadfast that the bill is in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

"This singles out certain businesses and their ability to conduct their business," Johnson told CNN.