Kan. Defends Adult Business Sign Ban

WICHITA, Kan. — Facing a federal lawsuit against a state law restricting billboards for adult businesses, lawyers representing Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six argued Monday that the law does not violate the 1st Amendment.

The lawsuit was filed by the parent company of the Lions Den Adult Superstore in Abilene, Kan. It seeks a temporary order to prevent the state from enforcing the statute, which prevents adult businesses from having any outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway starting July 1.

Attorney General Six is represented by independent counsel because he was named in the lawsuit in his official capacity.

The statute allows two onsite signs for businesses that are within a mile of a state highway. One may give the shop's name, address, phone number, operating hours and a statement, and also can be no larger than 40 square feet. A second sign stating that minors are not allowed also is permitted.

Violation of the statute is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a month in county jail and a fine of up to $500.

The suit claims that the law violates 1st Amendment guarantees of free speech and 14th Amendment guarantees of due process, and notes that similar state statutes already have been struck down in Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina.

Attorneys for the state argued in court papers filed on Monday that the billboards aren't protected by the 1st Amendment because they don't concern lawful activity. The filing did not elaborate, and a spokeswoman declined to comment further to reporters, citing pending litigation.

Lions Den attorney Richard Bryant did not immediately return a call from XBIZ.

A hearing on the preliminary injunction is set for June 4 in Topeka, Kan.