At our last Drinking Liberally pow-wow, we talked about the usual stuff like the Iraq war, the P2008 race and the decline of Ohio's manufacturing sector. We made bets on the date that Alberto Gonzales would announce that he wants to spend more time with his family and we brainstormed ideas for the Demo Debate Drinking Game.
But the topic that aroused the most fervent and most united discussion was about this proposal now pending in the Ohio legislature:
The bill would force sexually oriented businesses - including adult bookstores and strip clubs - to close from midnight to 6 a.m. Strip clubs with permits to sell alcohol could remain open, but the entertainment would have to stop at midnight.
The bill would also require strip clubs to maintain a distance of at least six feet between entertainers and patrons, even after the dancers have put their clothes back on.
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The proposal was brought to the Republican-controlled legislature by petition through the work of Citizens for Community Values, a Cincinnati-based group that spearheaded the 2004 amendment that bans gay marriages in Ohio. If the legislature does not act on the measure, the group could take it to the ballot.
Some might see our beery denunciation of this latest infringement on the right to the pursuit of happiness as evidence of pervasive left-wing moral degeneracy. I don't. I would bet that conservatives to go stripjoints just as often as liberals do--and maybe more. The difference is that liberals aren't ashamed to say so.
Jason Sonenshein offers up these talking points and links to a petition to sign in opposition to the pending bill:
If you have not yet contacted your state representative, please do so. Stop The House has a petition you can sign. If you prefer to compose your own message, you can find your representative's contact information here. Here are some points to make:
- Bad for Neighborhoods: Senate Bill 16 would push adult entertainment out of commercial zones and into residential neighborhoods, where it would be harder to regulate.
- Bad for Taxpayers: Adult entertainment generates $250 million in economic activity in Ohio. If local governments lose the tax revenue from this economic activity, some of them will have to make up the shortfall, probably by raising taxes.
- Bad for Cities: Local governments already have the power to regulate strip clubs. Senate Bill 16 would take this power away by setting a statewide standard that might or might not be right for each individual community.
- Bad for Ohio: For the above reasons, Senate Bill 16 is bad for all Ohioans, including those of us who have no interest in the adult entertainment industry.
It was suggested that we hold our next Drinking Liberally session at Scarlett's to show solidarity with Dancers for Democracy, a group of strippers who are organizing to defeat the bill, but most felt that the loud music and the visual distractions would kill our progressive conversation. Alas.
At the very least, we should pass out bumper stickers proclaiming "I Go to Stripjoints--And I Vote."