VIDEO: Strip club restrictions take center stage in House debate

Rebecca Zepick / State of the State KS

The Kansas House took a key vote in favor of a bill Tuesday that would put greater regulations on strip clubs and sexually oriented businesses. The bill would force the clubs to close by midnight and requires employees to stay six feet away from patrons.

John Samples, the owner of a strip club in Topeka, says the bill targets businesses that are helping bring revenue to the state.

“My two clubs in Topeka, which are the number one and number two clubs in Topeka, pays over two hundred thousand dollars a year in tax,” said Samples.

Opponents of the bill also point out that if to many restriction on the clubs are put in place, the industry will go underground, without the safety and heath protections that the businesses currently require.

But supporters of the bill say sexually oriented businesses harm the community by raising crime rates and lowering property values.

State Representative Steve Brunk (R) says smaller cities don’t have the resources to fight the lawsuits that question the constitutionality of the laws under the 1st Amendment.

“There are a number of reasons, I think the main one is the state has an interest in regulating these kinds of business.

They’ve been over run in small cities by these kinds of businesses with out the ability in the small city to fight back,” said Brunk.

The House voted in favor of the bill on a voice vote, and is scheduled for final action on the bill Wednesday.

In other state house news a series of bills were debated at the capitol Tuesday that puts grandparents one step closer to custody of the their grandchildren when removed by the state.

Supporters like Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D) hope the proposed laws will give grandparents rights so they have a better chance of keeping their grandchildren with the family.

“This will certainly help those Grandparents who love their grandchildren and want to keep them out of foster care,” said Faust-Goudeau.

Under current law, grandparents don’t have the right to custody or adoption. The best interest of the child is a deciding factor in determining where children will live.