Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007
Hagan: Strip bill 'is absolutely absurd'
The Ohio House approved the bill that limits activities at sexually oriented businesses.
By MARC KOVAC
COLUMBUS State Rep. Bob Hagan said he considered offering an amendment to the strip-club bill approved by the Ohio House, an amendment containing rules aimed at lawmakers.
The Youngstown Democrat relayed its contents during the floor debate Wednesday on Substitute Senate Bill 16. The amendment called for additional rules, dealing with "misconduct regarding a legislator," to be inserted into the bill. Among the amendment's provisions:
No lobbyist shall touch a member of the General Assembly.
A member of the General Assembly shall be home by midnight when the General Assembly is in session.
No person shall serve alcohol to a member of the General Assembly from 1 a.m. Tuesday through 1 a.m. Friday while the General Assembly is in session.
Any lawmakers found guilty of breaking those rules would be subject to a first-degree misdemeanor, according to the amendment. (The penalty level was the same outlined in Sub. SB 16 for patrons touching strippers' uncovered privates.)
Hagan also jokingly asked whether the palms of politicians hands should be added to no-contact areas, considering the level excitement generated by campaign contributions.
"We have not made this a better state with this bill," said Hagan, who joined 23 other Democrats in voting against the overall legislation (without his amendment).
"It's absurd, absolutely absurd, and we're actually looking at ourselves and saying we're doing good for the state of Ohio."
OK'd by House
The House approved legislation Wednesday that limits activities at sexually oriented businesses.
The final vote on Substitute Senate Bill 16 was 73 to 24; all in opposition were Democrats, though others joined Republican ranks in supporting the legislation.
The bill heads back to the Senate for concurrence.
Senate President Bill Harris, a Republican from Ashland, said he expected his chamber to concur on the substitute bill.
Sub. SB 16 would prohibit sexually oriented businesses not holding valid liquor licenses from operating between midnight and 6 a.m.
Those with liquor licenses could stay open provided they cease from offering sexually oriented entertainment involving nude performers.
The bill also would institute a statewide ban on physical contact between club employees who are nude or semi-nude or with patrons.
Violators would face first-degree misdemeanor charges for touching specified anatomical areas and fourth-degree misdemeanors for touching other parts
Strippers at debate
During the House debate, strippers, many wearing pink "Dancers for Democracy" T-shirts, lined one section of the public seating area of the House chambers.
Introduced as guests of Hagan, they stood and unfurled a large banner reading, "Talk is Cheap, Speech is Priceless."
Before the session, they also distributed pink-colored, hand-written letters asking lawmakers to oppose the bill.