Wichita — A state law restricting billboards that advertise for strip clubs and sex shops does not violate the First Amendment, lawyers for Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six argued Monday.
The arguments came in court papers in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a company that operates a central Kansas adult store challenging the constitutionality of a law that prevents such businesses from having any outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway starting July 1.
The lawsuit was filed by Ohio-based Abilene Retail No. 30 Inc., which operates Lions Den Adult Superstore in Abilene. The store is seeking a temporary order to prevent the state from enforcing the statute. It argues that the law violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process.
But attorneys for Six wrote that the store’s billboards aren’t protected by the First Amendment because they don’t concern lawful activity. The filing did not elaborate. Six is being represented by outside lawyers because he was named in the lawsuit in his official capacity.
A hearing on the preliminary injunction is set for June 4 in Topeka.
The statute allows onsite signs for businesses that are within a mile of a state highway. But they can have just two signs: One giving the shop’s name, address, phone number, operating hours and a statement, and the other stating that minors are not allowed.
According to court records, Lions Den has numerous signs on its premises and leases space on three billboards along Interstate 70.