Senate looks to regulate adult entertainment

The Missouri Senate took another shot at regulating the adult entertainment industry Thursday; the same week that a federal grand jury convened to look into the demise of a similar bill five years ago.

Sponsored once again by Lee's Summit republican Matt Bartle, the legislation would put buffer zones around strip clubs and adult video stores.

"Of one thousand feet around schools, churches, residences and parks." Bartle said.

Had the law passed when it was first offered five years ago, the now-defunct Cole County business "Shakel's Secret" might never have opened. Bartle's bill would also ban nudity, require semi-nude employees to remain six feet from customers, and force adult businesses to close by midnight. Bartle TMs supporters said adult businesses threaten more than community values.

"These establishments act as a magnet for sexual predators to come into our communities, Sen. Jack Goodman, (R) Mt. Vernon said.

Opponents said the measure violates the opportunity for local control and threatens the state economy.

"Right now, the adult entertainment industry has 3,000 people employed, Sen. Jolie Justus, (D) Kansas City said. And should these regulations pass, there's a very good chance most, if not all, of those people will be out of work.

Earlier this week, Bartle appeared before a federal grand jury in Kansas City to discuss the death in the house of his 2005 sex shop legislation. The justice department wants to know if Former House Speaker Rod Jetton engineered that bill's demise in exchange for political contributions from the adult entertainment industry. Bartle thinks so. He also thinks he can beat the industry in court.

"I am offering a bill that I think will withstand constitutional scrutiny, Bartle said.

The Senate approved the Bartle legislation on a voice vote.

A formal roll call is required for the bill to move on to the house.