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Pol Sponsors Bill to End Billboard Porn

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, [pictured] has pre-filed legislation in the Missouri Senate to limit the impact and visibility of the pornography industry in Missouri communities.

Rep. David Pearce, R- Warrensburg, will be filing and handling a similar measure in the Missouri House of Representatives. The measures will restrict adult businesses from advertising near Missouri’s major highways.

“Sexually oriented businesses and adult cabarets are degrading Missouri’s landscape with lurid and suggestive advertising,” Bartle said. “These measures will place meaningful regulations on an industry that refuses to police itself.”

The proposals by Bartle and Pearce prohibit adult cabarets and sexually oriented businesses from advertising on billboards within one mile of state highways if the billboards display images or words that pertain to the adult aspects of the business. If the businesses themselves are located within a mile of a state highway, they may only display two exterior signs. One sign may identify the business, including information such as hours of operation and contact numbers, and the other must be a notice that minors may not enter. Likewise, such a business may have no more than two off-premises billboards.

Both chambers of the Missouri Legislature will take up the measures when they convene for the upcoming legislative session on Jan. 3, 2007.

“This legislation will create a more favorable impression of our state,” Pearce said. “If we ignore this problem, it will only get worse, so we need to do something about it. These measures are designed to reduce the negative effects these billboards and businesses have on our society.”

The new legislation has been written to withstand inevitable legal challenges from the pornography industry. In August, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis struck down a previous version sponsored by Bartle and handled by Pearce on the grounds that it was overly broad.

“The courts gave us guidance on what needed to be corrected in the previous law, and we have responded with legislation that will meet the demands of Missourians and pass constitutional scrutiny,” Bartle said. “Our communities did not ask for a fight with the pornography industry, but we will make it clear to the purveyors of porn that the law is on the side of Missouri families.
 

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