Group plans to file lawsuit to challenge bill
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation to regulate adult businesses in Missouri. A law set to take effect Aug. 28 will drastically change the way gentlemen’s clubs across the state, including five at Lake of the Ozarks, conduct business.
“Adult businesses in Missouri have been allowed to open and operate with minimal oversight for far too long,” Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) said. “The actions of the governor today will ensure that our state continues to be a family-friendly place to live and visit.”
Nixon did not offer comment on the legislation, and signed Senate Bill 586 into law “without ceremony.”
The new law will ban alcohol at all adult establishments. The law will require all adult businesses (including video stores, theaters, and strip clubs) to close at midnight. Full-nudity, lapdances, and private rooms are also banned.
“It’s a law that is designed to put us out of business, and that’s just sad,” Tony Bradford, owner of Flirt in Osage Beach told the Lake Sun in early June.
Adult business owners across the state waited to see what Nixon would do with the legislation before acting. Now that Nixon has signed the bill into law, a group called the Association of Club Executives (ACE) expects to file a lawsuit to have the new regulations thrown out.
The group has already pooled money into a legal defense fund and will likely ask for a temporary restraining order to stop the law from going into effect. The group also plans to challenge the law’s constitutionality under the First Amendment.
“They win a lot in court, alas. But should we keep on trying? I think the answer to that question is, ‘yes,’” Sen. Matt Bartle (R-Lee’s Summit) foreshadowed when he introduced the bill to a Senate committee in January.
Bartle’s quest against adult businesses launched in 2004. He initially set out to regulate billboards advertising adult video stores along Missouri’s interstate highways, but his effort grew with each annual attempt.
“One need only take a short trip on any of Missouri’s major highways to see that the proliferation of smut shops is out of control. There’s no question that regulations need to be put in place so we can protect our communities from decreased property values and an environment ripe for crime,” Bartle said.
Bartle sponsored a similar bill in 2005 that Governor Matt Blunt signed into law. Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan declared provisions of the law unconstitutional. The law banning seminude lap dances was ultimately overturned. The bill’s passage in 2005 sparked a federal investigation of Bartle and then-House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) to determine if campaign donations from the adult entertainment industry to Jetton influenced the bill.
2010 Senate Bill 589
-Prohibits a person from establishing a sexually oriented business within 1,000 feet of a school, church, library, daycare, park, or residence (existing businesses within the 1,000 ft. zones would be grandfathered and allowed to stay open)
-Prohibits a person convicted of certain crimes (namely sex offenses) from establishing an adult business
-Requires seminude performers to be on a fixed stage at least 18” off the ground and at least 6’ from the nearest patron
-Bans seminude performers from knowingly touching patrons or patrons’ clothing
-Bans the use, sale, and consumption of alcohol on the premises of an adult business
-Restricts hours of operations for adult businesses. Businesses may not be open between midnight and 6 a.m.