Kansas Lawmakers Scheme to Handcuff Adult Businesses

TOPEKA, Kan.—With the 2011 legislative session coming to an imminent end, a House Federal and State Affairs Committee is making a last-ditch effort to keep alive a bill that would impose severe restrictions on adult oriented business in the state. Wednesday, the committee made the rather aggressive move to gut the Senate’s weaker version of the bill—which had had stalled in committee anyway—and insert more restrictive measures. The maneuver, while risky, is the bill’s last chance of survival.

According to CJOnline.com, “House Bill 2107, labeled the Community Defense Act by sponsors, imposes statewide limits on adult bookstores, video stores, cabarets, movie houses and sex toy shops. City or county regulations would be trumped by this state law, unless a local rule was more stringent.

“At existing businesses,” the article continued, “the bill bans full nudity, mandates performers remain 6 feet from customers and closes each establishment from midnight to 6 a.m. Dancers no longer could touch customers, which is the death knell for lap dancing. Private rooms for personal viewing would be abolished. New commercial ventures couldn't be established within 1,000 feet of a day care center, park, school, library or church.”

But the Senate was not as enamored of the bill as the House, and was willing to let it die in committee. In gutting the Senate’s bill in favor of a more onerous version, however, the members of the Federal and State Affairs Committee now must get the approval of the full House. If successful, the bill would then bypass the Senate committee process and head straight to the full Senate for a motion to concur vote.

Not every member of the House committee thinks the strategy will work, however. Rep. Amanda Grosserode (R-Lenexa), arguing that it was unlikely the Senate would pass the stricter version, tried to delete from the bill all but the 1,000-foot restriction on new adult business. According to CJOnline.com, she also made the point that a more flexible bill “would help small Kansas communities fight off developers interested in placing topless clubs in those cities.”

Her fellow presumably more ideologically inclined colleagues did not agree, and rebuffed her attempt in favor of the full package of business-killing regulations.

“I think there is a bigger picture," said Rep. Steve Huebert (R-Valley Center).