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General Assembly protects children from adult entertainment

The House chamber on Thursday passed legislation that protects children from being exposed to sexually explicit performances. House Bill 9, sponsored by State Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, restricts adult-oriented cabaret performances from being performed on public property if children could be present.

The bill requires private establishments such as bars or restaurants that host sexually explicit shows to require patrons to show identification to ensure they are at least 18. The bill provides common-sense protection and clarity regarding what performances are not appropriate for children. 

Todd told members on the House floor he sought to clarify the law following community outrage in his district over a drag show planned on public property. The show was promoted as a “family-friendly” event.   

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“This is a common sense, child safety bill,” Todd said. “It protects children first and foremost. This will make it much easier for the public to determine what exactly is appropriate for children and what is not.” 

A violation of this bill would result in a Class A misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent offense would result in a Class E felony.  The bill returns to the Senate chamber for a procedural vote before heading to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Another proposal making its way through House committees would require a person to obtain a valid entertainer permit from the adult-oriented establishment board in jurisdictions with a board, prior to performing an adult cabaret entertainment show.

House Bill 30,  sponsored by State Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, prohibits public, private and commercial establishments from allowing anyone under the age of 18 to attend such a performance.  House Bill 30 is scheduled to be heard in the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee on Feb. 28.

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