Strip club surcharge passes state Senate committee, Lt. Gov. in Rockford March 9 to support bill

Editor’s note: Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) will visit Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, Inc., at 10 a.m., Friday, March 9, in support of Senate Bill 3348. The bill would require all live adult entertainment facilities that sell or allow alcohol on site to collect a $5-per-patron entry fee. Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, Inc., is at 4990 E. State St., Rockford.

Online Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) testified in support of legislation that passed 8-0 out of a state Senate committee March 6 that would fund rape crisis centers through an entrance fee at strip clubs.

Senate Bill 3348, sponsored by state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, would require all adult entertainment facilities that permit alcohol to pay a $5-per-patron fee. The funds would be distributed to community-based sexual assault prevention and response organizations that have seen their state funding decrease 28 percent in the past five years.

Over the coming weeks, Simon looks forward to working with Hutchinson to continue research to address suggestions from the committee.

In her testimony, Simon said: “This bill is a responsible way to regulate the adult entertainment industry in Illinois and restore funding to community-based organizations that provide critical services to women, children and law enforcement agencies. Substantial evidence links alcohol sales at strip clubs to negative secondary effects, including violence against women. Clubs that profit from alcohol and nude dancing should pick up the tab for the related social ills. If they don’t want to pay the tab, they can stop permitting alcohol.”

R.T. Finney, the president of Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and Dr. Richard McCleary, a University of California-Irvine professor and adult entertainment business researcher, submitted written testimony in support of S.B. 3348.

Last year, the Texas Supreme Court upheld legislation that imposed a $5 entrance fee at strip clubs permitting alcohol, based on the “negative secondary effects,” or related social ills such as sexual abuse and assault. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge of that decision, effectively opening the door for other cities and states to purse similar measures. California is among the states seeking legislation; it is considering a $10-per-patron fee.

Posted March 8, 2012

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