‘Adult-oriented’ businesses would be subject to new restrictions under bill approved by Senate

Kentucky Lantern

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FRANKFORT — A bill placing new restrictions on “adult-oriented” businesses, which opponents have blasted as anti-drag,” passed the Kentucky Senate Wednesday 32-6. 

It can now go to the House for consideration. 

Senate Bill 147 prohibits “adult-oriented” businesses from being located within 933 feet of a child care facility, children’s amusement establishment, school, park, recreation  facility or place of worship. It defines “adult-oriented business as “an adult arcade, adult bookstore or video store, adult cabaret, adult theater, or any establishment that regularly hosts any performance involving sexual conduct.” 

Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, said on the floor that these businesses cause “the general erosion of communities.” 

“Adult-oriented businesses present a wide variety of adverse secondary effects, including an increase in crime, human trafficking, prostitution, lewdness, public indecency, vulgarity, weakening of public morality, obscenity, drug abuse and the trafficking negative impacts from surrounding properties and their values, sexual assault, human trafficking, exploitation” and more, she said. 

Originally the bill required businesses in violation to relocate when their lease expired or within five years of the bill becoming law. A floor amendment that passed removes that requirement.  Businesses that violate the bill’s rules — including admitting or employing minors — could lose their ability to renew business or liquor licenses and could receive cease and desist letters. 

Another floor amendment removes the word “drag” from the definition of adult cabaret in this phrase: “any establishment that hosts sexually explicit drag performances or any performance involving sexual conduct.” 

“Most of us,” said Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, “want to make sure that sexually explicit content or activity is removed from minor children.” 

But Yates, who voted against the bill, worries “there may be a free speech issue there” and “constitutional violations” in the bill. 

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