Archive for Friday, March 31, 2006

Bill governing sex signs on roadways clears House

March 31, 2006

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— Legislation banning signs and other outdoor advertising for a sexually oriented business within a mile of any highway or interstate cleared the House and went to the Senate.

The vote Thursday was 123-2 on a compromise version drafted by negotiators for both chambers. If the Senate approves, the bill will go to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Under the proposal, a business within a mile of such roadways could post two signs - one no more than 40 square feet with the name, address, phone number and operating hours, and another noting the premises are off-limits to minors.

Signs already in place could remain for three years after the bill becomes law.

The bill is one of the few efforts to fight pornography that have had much success this year.

Many lawmakers backed a bill imposing a 10 percent tax on sexually oriented businesses such as strip clubs, escort services and adult book stores. It was considered by the House Taxation Committee, which decided not to send the measure to the chamber for debate.

It was modeled in part after a 2004 Utah law imposing a 10 percent tax on admission fees, sales, food and drinks at sexually oriented businesses and a tax on escort services equal to 10 percent of the amount charged. The Utah law is being challenged in court and legislators say they want to see what happens in that case before moving ahead next year.

Last week, the House passed a bill making it easier to prosecute under the state's anti-obscenity law by removing the phrase "sexually provocative aspect" from the definition of what materials are illegal. The 122-2 vote sent the measure to the Senate.

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