HomeTop StoriesThe KY Senate is proposing a bill that would restrict adult businesses,...

The KY Senate is proposing a bill that would restrict adult businesses, including some drag shows

An amended version of a Republican-backed bill to regulate “adult-oriented businesses” and performance venues, such as adult video stores and adult cabarets, won Senate approval on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 147 from Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, would dictate that “adult entertainment” businesses, as well as commercial-use venues where “performances involving sexually explicit conduct” take place, would not be allowed to do so within 1,000 feet of certain locations where children might be. .

That distance is the average length of a city block, Tichenor said, and the businesses targeted by the bill include adult arcades, video stores, theater and adult cabarets.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Tichenor said adult businesses exhibit “a wide range of adverse secondary effects, including increases in crime, human trafficking, prostitution, fornication, public indecency, vulgarity, weakening of public morals, obscenity and drug use.” . . and the general erosion of communities” and her bill would “prevent” these consequences.

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Such businesses must operate with a 1,000-foot buffer from places of worship, parks, schools, childcare centers, libraries, seminaries and gaming facilities to, as the bill notes, “ensure that minors are not subjected to adult entertainment.”

The Senate voted 32-6 in favor of the bill. It now goes to a committee of the House of Representatives.

Previous versions of the bill included “drag performances” in the list of restricted adult entertainment, first referred to as “sexually explicit drag performances” and then as a “drag performance involving sexually explicit conduct.”

Although the latest version of the bill no longer includes the word “drag,” it still includes definitions of “drag” as examples of what would be prohibited: any performer who is “caricatured” and “demonstrates an exaggerated gender expression inconsistent with the performer’s biological sex” by using “clothing, makeup, or other physical markers” in a way that could be considered “explicitly sexual” would be limited under the bill.

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Another approved amendment from Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe, R-Lexington, would theoretically allow commercial establishments that were “legally operating as an adult-oriented business” before the bill took effect “to continue operating as an adult-oriented business,” even if it is located in a location that does not comply with the new regulations.

These new parameters would only apply to new companies. Previously, existing companies had five years to comply.

Last week, Tichenor said in a legislative committee that she was trying to clarify her definitions of drag after meeting with Andrew Newton Schaftlein of Louisville, who also performs as May O’Nays, a “Martha Stewart type” who often performs in family-friendly spaces. with children.

Schaftlein publicly requested a meeting with the bill’s sponsor, in part to explain the nuance of the drag that was not reflected in the original version of the bills, he told the Herald-Leader. Lumping all drag shows together with other adult-oriented performances is bothersome because it “somehow lacks moral clarity,” Schaftlein says.

But opponents of the bill continue to point to the legal ambiguity surrounding drag in particular, and what is considered sexually explicit.

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While everyone agrees that sexually explicit behavior or activities should be kept out of the reach of children, Louisville Democratic Sen. David Yates said he has a “problem” with lawmakers still singling out “wear and tear.”

Tichenor’s definition of ‘explicit sexual behavior’ in drag – although the word has once again been removed – essentially just refers to what it means to be in drag, namely when gender expression is exaggerated through the use of clothing, affect and makeup.

But in other parts of the bill that define performances and spaces that include “sexual conduct,” it is referred to as “nudity.”

“We removed the word ‘drag’ but rephrased it,” Yates said. “My concern is that there may be a free speech issue (and) constitutional violations.”

In a post on the social media platform X.com after the Senate vote, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky hinted at these violations: proverb“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: banning gender expression is unconstitutional.”

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