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Sandy Springs tables vote on obscenity

Georgia- The Sandy Springs City Council tabled a Tuesday vote on a proposed obscenity law, deciding to further discuss the ordinance at its July work session.

“There was a sense among some of us that we needed to do some more work on this – perfect it,” said City Councilman Rusty Paul, who made the motion to table the vote. “This is a murky area of law and you have

to be careful how you draft it to make sure it complies with what the court said.”

The city’s proposed ordinance would make it unlawful to sell, lend, rent, lease, give or advertise obscene material. It would also provide a list of acts and materials defined as obscene, including sex and sex toys. The law would not apply to anyone needing the material for a sexuality class or as prescribed by a doctor.

In February, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s obscenity law was unconstitutional. City Attorney Wendell Willard said the proposed ordinance was designed to give Sandy Springs a way to enforce obscenity laws and “bridge this gap until the state has a chance to do something.”

Paul also said the council has questions about whether it should get involved or rely on the state legislature to draft a new law when it begins its session.

Atlanta-based attorney Alan Begner [pictured], whose clients include the Sandy Springs adult entertainment stores, Love Shack, Starship Enterprise and Extreme Video, had expressed concerns that the ordinance would allow the city to prosecute stores that sell sexual material, which they weren’t able to do in the past.

Begner wasn’t sure what to think of the council’s decision to table the vote: “Tabling it doesn’t mean they’re not going to pass it,” he said Tuesday night.

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