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Strip club oversight bill gets Iowa House approval

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 11:20 a.m. CST

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa cities would have more authority to regulate strip clubs under legislation approved Monday in the state House.

The measure, approved 89-10, would allow local governments such as cities and counties to pass ordinances that prohibit nudity in local businesses. Currently, municipalities can only regulate strip clubs through city zoning laws or sales tax rules that bar alcohol sales by businesses that allow public nudity.

Rep. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, a strong supporter of the bill, said the legislation would provide local officials with more power to oversee such businesses.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled last year that state law conflicted with an ordinance in Hamburg that prohibited nude dancing and alcohol consumption at sexually oriented businesses. The ordinance also required seminude employees to remain 6 feet away from customers.

The court said state law superseded the ordinance — but the court didn’t say the ordinance’s restrictions were unconstitutional.

Garret said the bill provides a loophole for artistic work, but Rep. Bruce Hunter said he wasn’t convinced and still concerned about unintended consequences.

“I think the bill is going to give communities a little too broad of a paintbrush to regulate,” said Hunter, D-Des Moines. “I can see how they want to regulate nude bars or nude shows, but I think this bill goes a little too far.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for review.