Mo. judge refuses to block restrictions on adult businesses
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – A Cole County judge has refused to block a state law that places new restrictions on Missouri's adult entertainment industry. The new law is one of several that take effect after midnight tonight.
A coalition of strip clubs and adult video stores had asked for a temporary restraining order, saying that the restrictions will cost them millions and result in job losses. Judge Jon Beetem agreed, but ruled that that has nothing to do with constitutional claims of free speech rights.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is pleased with the ruling.
"It means that the judge thinks that the adult entertainment industry did not meet its burden showing that the likelihood of success at a later stage in the process was very high," Koster said.
The new law bans full nudity and alcohol at strip clubs, limits where new clubs and adult video stores can locate, requires them to close at midnight, forbids semi-nude employees from touching customers, and forbids anyone under 18 from being admitted.
Nellie Symm-Gruender owns Passions, a small chain of adult bookstores in Columbia and Boonville. She says the provision requiring adult businesses to close at midnight will hit her business hard.
"We will lose all of our overnight revenue, which can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000," Symm-Gruender said. "I've already had to lay two people off who now will be on unemployment...they will be losing their health care."
Governor Jay Nixon supports the ruling. He says he doesn't believe Missouri's economic future will be built "on that industry."