New Ohio Law Will Restrict Sexually-Oriented Businesses

Update: Pro-Family Decency Law Under Attack from Sex Industry

Governor announces decision to let anti-crime bill become law without his signature.

[Columbus, OH] – The Ohio Senate voted 25-8 on May 22, 2007 to approve the House version of Senate Bill 16, the Community Defense Act (CDA).

Hours later, Governor Ted Strickland’s spokesperson, Keith Dailey, announced that the Governor would allow the bill to become law without his signature.

Dailey said that the Governor found no constitutional flaws in the bill. He noted that a large number of legislators as well as significant numbers of citizens supported the law, and said that the Governor would “honor their wishes.”

“This is a great victory for the families of Ohio,” said CCV’s president, Phil Burress.

CCV organized the initiative petition campaign through which CDA was brought to the Legislature in January.

“Although the final version of CDA passed yesterday lacks some of the safeguards in our original language, this law will go a long way toward meeting our objectives of reducing crime, protecting women from exploitation and degradation, and protecting our communities,” Burress explained.

While under consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives, CDA underwent two changes.

  • A six-foot buffer zone between patrons and employees who regularly appear nude or semi-nude was reduced to a simple “no-touching” rule.
  • An exception was added that would allow strip clubs possessing liquor licenses to continue offering semi-nude (but not nude) entertainment until the closing time stipulated by their license. (Otherwise, limits on hours of operation remained basically the same. All other sexually oriented businesses would be required to close between midnight and 6:00AM.)

In addition, a section was added whereby the state would provide townships and municipalities assistance in writing their own regulations on sexually oriented businesses and also would indemnify them in the event those regulations were challenged in court.

Burress noted that the two changes were made in part because members of the House committee that considered CDA wanted to send Governor Strickland a bill that could not be considered “constitutionally suspect” in any respect – a bill every provision of which already had been upheld by federal courts.

CCV’s vice president of public policy, David Miller, praised leaders in the House and Senate for working together in response to their constituents to send the Governor a bill that would give law enforcement the tools they need to stop the rampant prostitution, the illegal drug sales, and the numerous other crimes linked to sexually oriented businesses.

If the Legislature had not been able to pass CDA into law, or had amended the bill in a manner that was unacceptable, CCV was prepared to exercise the option provided in Ohio’s Constitution to organize a second petition campaign in order to take the proposed legislation directly to Ohio voters in November’s General Election.

“We’re very happy that our friends will not have to take time away from their families this summer to make sure that these critical regulations become law,” said Miller. “We owe our legislators a vote of thanks for working together in the best interest of our families even in the face of pressure from well-funded lobbyists and our very biased, liberal media.”

SOURCE: Citizens for Community Values