Ruling pending on Mo. law regarding sexually-oriented businesses
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – A Cole County judge may decide tomorrow whether a new law that places restrictions on sexually-oriented businesses in Missouri can take effect Saturday as planned.
The new restrictions include a ban on full nudity and alcohol sales at strip clubs, limit where new clubs and adult video stores can locate, and require them to close at midnight.
Attorney Dick Bryant represents several adult-oriented businesses. He wants Judge Jon Beetem to issue a temporary restraining order to block the law from taking effect until a full hearing can be held. Bryant argues that the new law violates free speech rights and that lawmakers greatly underestimated the amount of revenue the state would lose due to the new regulations.
An attorney for the state contends the law is sound and that similar laws have been upheld in other states.
The bill creating the new restrictions was sponsored by State Senator Matt Bartle (R, Lee's Summit). After passing the Missouri Senate in February, it spent three months in the House before passing there.
Bartle believes the adult entertainment industry was responsible for the bill's slow movement. He also sponsored a similar bill five years ago that passed the Senate but died in the House after former House Speaker Rod Jetton sent it to an unfriendly committee.
The move came days after the adult entertainment industry gave $35,000 to a campaign committee. The FBI has been investigating the incident.