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Update: Kansas Agreement Settles federal lawsuit filed against AG by the Lion’s Den

TOPEKA | from wwww.kansascity.com – A Kansas law that limits the size and content of highway signs for adult stores won’t be enforced because of an agreement Tuesday between the attorney general and lawyers for a sexually oriented business.

The agreement would settle a federal lawsuit filed against Attorney General Steve Six by the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, which is along Interstate 70 in Abilene. Attorneys for the business argued the law was an improper restraint of its free commercial speech.

The law applied to signs for adult stores within a mile of a highway and said they couldn’t be more than 40 square feet or contain more than the name, location, phone number and operating hours. Legislators enacted it in 2006 but gave businesses until July 1, 2009, to modify existing signs.

Only days before that deadline, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson of Topeka blocked the law’s enforcement while she considered the Lion’s Den lawsuit. Six spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said the judge’s order suggested the store would prevail at trial.

Six’s office and Lion’s Den attorneys filed their agreement with Robinson and expected her to sign off. The state agreed not to enforce the law, and the store’s attorneys agreed not to try to force the state to cover their fees.

Richard Bryant, a Kansas City attorney representing the Lion’s Den, said the agreement probably saved Kansas taxpayers $150,000 in litigation expenses. He said it was also a good result, given past court rulings on such issues.

Phillip Cosby, a retired Army master sergeant from Overland Park who has led a statewide campaign against pornography and adult stores, said Six was using excuses for “becoming timid.”

Cosby said law enforcement officials’ first duty was to protect the public and noted that tobacco and liquor advertising had been regulated because of the products’ harmful health effects.

Sen. Tim Huelskamp, a Fowler Republican who sponsored the law, said Six should have offered a more vigorous defense, noting that it had widespread support from legislators. “Our families should be free to travel down our highways without fear of exposing their children to suggestive and lurid advertising,” he said.

Bryant noted that the three Lion’s Den signs contained words and no pictures.

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