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Louisville Slugs Strip Clubs

Louisville- Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson signed into law yesterday a tough new adult-entertainment ordinance that some argue could force Louisville’s strip clubs to close.

But Louisville metro inspectors and police say they won’t enforce it until they can figure out how to do that and give adult businesses time to adjust.

Until then, it will be business as usual in strip clubs and adult bookstores, lawyers representing several adult-entertainment businesses said yesterday.

RESTRICTIONS The new Louisville metro adult-entertainment ordinance: Requires strip clubs and adult bookstores to close between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Requires strip-club dancers to wear at least pasties and G-strings.

Requires dancers to remain at least 6 feet from customers while performing and prohibits them from touching patrons.

Prohibits customers from giving tips directly to dancers.

Prohibits alcohol sales at adult businesses after current alcohol licenses expire.

Requires adult business owners and their employees to be licensed.

Requires employees to be able to see all areas of adult bookstores – including peep-show booths.

Attorney Frank Mascagni, who represents P.T.’s Showclub and Déjà Vu, said his clients may file suit this week challenging the ordinance, based on the metro government’s plans to enforce it.

He said lawyers in his office and with a Michigan firm representing the clubs have been drafting a lawsuit since last week.

And attorney Mike Hatzell, who represents the Thorobred Lounge and other adult businesses, said some of his clients would join that lawsuit.

The Louisville Metro Council approved the ordinance last week after a year of lobbying by a citizens’ group that opposes adult entertainment.

Abramson said he signed the law because he believes it is important to the community.

“The Metro Council put forth a substantive and comprehensive approach to combating a concern shared by many neighbors and families throughout Louisville,” he said.

Under the ordinance, strip clubs and adult bookstores would have to close at 1 a.m., and an adult business would be prohibited from obtaining a new alcoholic-beverage license after its current license expires.

The ordinance also prohibits nude performances in adult-entertainment venues.

It requires strip-club dancers to stay at least 6 feet from customers when performing and prohibits them from directly accepting tips or touching customers – even if they aren’t performing.

Adult bookstores with peep shows would have to ensure that employees could see inside the booths at all times, and some strip clubs will have to build stages that are at least 18 inches high.

The Abramson administration said it wants to give the businesses time to make changes to comply with the law, especially since some might require construction.

The administration also said it is trying to determine whether it can enforce parts of the new law that are similar to provisions that state and federal judges had ruled unconstitutional in previous ordinances.

Bill Schreck, director of Inspections, Permits and Licenses, said yesterday that he asked the Jefferson County Attorney’s office if he could begin enforcing the licensing requirement, since U.S. District Judge John Heyburn struck down a similar law two years ago.

The county attorney hadn’t responded yesterday.

Schreck also wants the county attorney to tell him whether a ruling by Jefferson Circuit Judge Stephen Ryan in January blocks the metro government from shutting down adult businesses at 1 each morning.

Metro police are still determining when to begin enforcement but will give businesses time to comply with the requirements, said Officer Dwight Mitchell, a police spokesman.



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