Free Speech X-Press Delivering Weekly Censorship Updates to the Adult Industry
Vol. VIII, No. 16, March 17, 2006 — A Member Service of the Free Speech Coalition __________________________________________________________ Free Speech X-press is researched and edited by Kat Sunlove and Layne Winklebleck. Copyright 2006 Free Speech Coalition. Permission to reprint granted to FSC members; please give credit. __________________________________________________________ VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR FSC MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION http://www.freespeechcoalition.com __________________________________________________________
DEADLINE NEARS FOR CALIFORNIA LOBBYING DAYS There’s not much time left to make application to attend our acclaimed lobbying training program, Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days (CFSLD), in Sacramento, California. The dates are Monday and Tuesday, April 24 and 25, 2006, and as always, space is limited. Deadline for applications has been extended to March 20. The two-day event will include a full day of political action training for participants, as well as our popular cocktail reception for legislators and staff. Call the Legislative Affairs Office at 1-800-476-7813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and an application form __________________________________________________________
.XXX TOP LEVEL DOMAIN BILL INTRODUCED WASHINGTON, DC — Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) have introduced legislation calling for a .XXX top-level domain exclusively for adult entertainment. Obtaining bi-partisan support for the measure may be difficult due to resistance by social conservative groups. Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and others helped block creation of a .XXX domain last year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. So many complaints were received that ICANN put off a final decision on creation of the domain. Ironically, on this issue the adult entertainment industry is also generally opposed to the plan. FSC was quick to reiterate opposition to the bill. “Our original concern was that Congress would make the content-based segregation of speech on the Internet mandatory, and that concern has been borne out by this bill,” said FSC Executive Director Michelle L. Freridge. “Our other core objections to the proposal remain as well.” From an FSC press release, 3/16/06 And from The Associated Press, 3/17/06 __________________________________________________________
REVISED EXOTIC DANCE BILL PASSES STATE SENATE COLUMBUS, OH — A substantially modified version of a controversial bill regulating exotic dance clubs has passed the state Senate here. In its original form, HB-23 would have broadened adult business regulations, creating strict statewide rules with 6-foot distance requirements between dancers and patrons as well as 11 PM limits on nude dancing. The original version would have also extended regulatory powers to townships. The original bill had been set for a vote in the Senate until Phil Burress of the Cincinnati-based nonprofit censorship organization, Citizens for Community Values (CCV), shot himself in the foot with some over-the-top political organizing. (See X-Press report, “Buckeye Ace Scores Against Arch Enemy,” 10/28/06) The revised version of the bill removes the statewide regulations wording from the bill and instead beefs up the ability of townships to regulate the businesses by promising help from the Ohio attorney general if the townships face legal battles. Neil S. Clark, the lobbyist for the dance clubs said he was a “happy camper” over the new version. "It’s a decent bill now. It’s a fair bill," Clark said. "The owners really didn’t want the statewide standards, which were vicious." Burress said he felt betrayed by Senate President Bill M. Harris, (R-Ashland). "If the term sold down the river has ever applied, this is it," Burress said. "They are giving strip clubs what they wanted. Obviously, this was drafted by the strip club and porn industry." The Ohio House still must give final concurrence to the bill. The bill sponsor, Representative Linda Reidelbach, (R-Columbus) said that she had not yet decided whether she would ask her colleagues to approve the bill or send it to a joint conference committee for further work with the Senate. From Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, 3/16/06 __________________________________________________________
YET ANOTHER DANCE BILL PASSES YET ANOTHER STATE SENATE FRANKFORT, KY — A state Senate bill (SB 250) which would ban full nudity and semi-nude lap dancing in exotic dance clubs, has moved quickly since being introduced March 1, passing 9-1 in the Senate Judiciary committee, and 36-2 in a vote by the full Senate. The bill, which defines full nudity and semi-nude lap dancing in exotic dance clubs as Class-A misdemeanors, goes now to the House. The bill passed the full Senate with no debate, after only a brief comment by sponsor Senator Julie Denton (R-Louisville). Under SB 250, dancers could wear pasties and string bikinis if they remain 6 feet from patrons and on a stage at least 18 inches high. Lap dances would be allowed only if the dancers wore more modest-style bikinis, as defined in the language of the bill. SB 250 also requires dancers and clubs to be licensed. Several Kentucky cities already have similar ordinances, but SB 250 would set minimum standards across the state. After voting for the measure, Democrat Perry Clark of Louisville reminded committee members that adult businesses wouldn’t thrive if so many people didn’t patronize them. "I was told recently by the minister of a large church that if his members would stop going to these places, we wouldn’t have to deal with this issue," Clark said. From Jack Brammer and Michelle Ku, Herald-Leader, 3/15/06 __________________________________________________________
PAIR FOUND GUILTY IN OBSCENITY TRIAL DALLAS, TX — After deliberating 6 hours, a jury here has found Clarence Thomas Gartman and Brent Alan McDowell guilty of having shipped an obscene video across state lines. The jury also found Gartman guilty of a conspiracy charge. The verdict highlights once again the confusing and subjective nature of obscenity law in this country. The video found obscene by the jury contained nipple piercing billed as sexual torture, but no explicit sexual acts. Another video, found not to be obscene, was a rape video which had been deemed obscene by a different jury in the conviction of Garry and Tamara Ragsdale, former business partners with Gartman, in October 2003. A third video, also not obscene in the eyes of the jury, featured urination and defecation. "The obscenity law is still mired in inconsistency," said Gartman’s attorney Andrew Chatham. "It simply does not give clear directions as to what is allowed to be sold or not sold to consenting adults." From Tim Wyatt, The Dallas Morning News, 3/14/06 And from Mark Kernes, AVN.com, 3/13/06 __________________________________________________________
LAWMAKERS SEEK TO FIX OBSCENITY STATUTE TOPEKA, KS — At the urging of Abilene anti-adult entertainment gadfly Phil Cosby, the state House Federal and State Affairs Committee has proposed a fix for the state’s obscenity statute. It seems the existing statute is too broad, since it includes under the definition of obscenity anything with a “sexually provocative aspect.” In 1990 the Kansas Supreme Court found that those three words made the state law defining obscenity unconstitutional because they, in effect, criminalized sex. However, despite the ruling, those three little words are still in the law, and that, according to Cosby, creates a problem in getting county prosecutors to bring criminal charges against adult businesses. Last year, says Cosby, because of the words, a judge threw out charges brought by a grand jury last year against the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore in Abilene. "We have a criminal statute that is not functional," said Representative Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe). From Harris News Service, 3/10/06 And from Jim Sullinger, the Kansas City Star, 3/11/06 __________________________________________________________
MEASURE WOULD WITHHOLD LIBRARY FUNDING OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The state House of Representatives has voted 60-33 to approve a bill sponsored by Representative Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) that would withhold state funding from local libraries that don’t restrict children’s access to reading material with sexually explicit or gay themes. The Tulsa City-County Library Commission has expressed its opposition. The chairman of the Tulsa commission says young people are free citizens entitled to free exercise of speech and thought. However, Kern says children deserve a period of protected innocence in which they are shielded from sexually explicit material she says is turning young people into sex machines. The bill now goes to the Senate, where opponents predict it will be killed. From The Associated Press, 3/16/06 And from another Associated Press report, 3/14/06 And from Greg Stone, Sapulpa Daily Herald, 3/10/06 __________________________________________________________
HUGE FEES PROPOSED PER EACH ADULT VIDEO TITLE ATLANTA, GA — House Bill 1553, introduced here recently, would require that any video store that rents or sells any adult title must obtain a license as an adult video store. The fee for that license is to be assessed based on the total number of adult titles for sale or rent as follows: 1) Ten thousand dollars for each specific adult video title the adult video store sells; and 2) Five thousand dollars for each specific adult video title the video store rents. They’ve got to be kidding, right? Nope. They don’t kid about things like this in Georgia, son. From the text of the bill. __________________________________________________________
COUNTY THROWS IN THE TOWEL ON ADULT LAWS HORRY COUNTY, SC — The County Council here has, after much deliberation, decided to abandon its plans to crack down on sexually oriented businesses, a fact which we thought worth reporting because decisions of this kind usually don’t make the news. Check out the reasoning of the council, as summarized below by Travis Tritten in the Myrtle Beach Sun News: The subject of cracking down came back on the table when Council Chair Liz Gilland and Councilmember Howard Barnard recently proposed another ordinance after more than a decade of efforts to find a legal way to push dance clubs and adult shops from the area. But as County Attorney John Weaver pointed out, increased regulation of exotic dance clubs and adult shops would cost the county about $750,000 the first year in legal bills and staff time. Furthermore, according to county Planning Director Janet Carter, the proposed ordinance would need a lot more work and would probably net few results. "If you pass this or any ordinance, you can expect to be challenged before you even enforce it, and you can expect that challenge to last for years," Carter said. The county would have to prove sexually oriented businesses hurt the local economy, devalue property and cause crime, Carter said. While it can’t bar certain dancing or magazines, the county does have the right to protect residents from those secondary effects of exotic dance clubs and adult shops, if it can prove the effects exist, she said. However, the facts are against it. The economy is booming and property values are going through the roof in Horry County, despite the clubs and shops. "We are going to have a doggone hard time showing a decrease in property values. We are going to have a doggone hard time showing a decrease in economic activity due to sexually oriented businesses," Carter said. Underlying the council decision, of course, is all the money, sweat and tears expended by all the adult entertainment business owners who have fought the many fights that now have made the Horry County Council think twice. From Travis Triiten, The Sun News, 3/10/06 __________________________________________________________
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK
President Bush has signed a PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill, making most of the Act permanent without the modest but meaningful civil liberties protections that had enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
The Federal Communications Commission has upheld millions in fines for broadcast indecency violations, including the infamous Janet Jackson quarter-second nipple exposure. Morality in Media generally approved.
A compromise of sorts has resulted in a federal judge deciding to require Google to release some information to the feds. __________________________________________________________