Lawsuit Filed to Stop Nudity Ban in Missouri Strip Clubs

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It's on. The lawsuit Daily RFT first told you was in the works back in June was officially filed yesterday in Cole County.

The suit names Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster as defendant and questions the constitutionality of S.B. 586. It further claims that lawmakers refused to do a proper fiscal review of the laws impact on Missouri tax revenue.

The law, sponsored by Republican Matt Bartle, passed in May banning nudity at Missouri's gentlemen's clubs and prohibiting the sale or use of alcohol at such businesses. It also regulates hours of operation and where the clubs and bookstores can locate.

"The first thing is obviously the First Amendment challenge to the bill, and that is that the bill suppresses freedom of expression during certain hours and in certain means that are unconstitutional," attorney Dick Bryant tells the RFT sister paper, Kansas City Pitch.

"The second part we've challenged is that the bill was enacted improperly because they failed to do the fiscal review required by the state of Missouri, and that argument is actually in two parts," continues Bryant, who filed the suit on behalf of the Missouri Association of Club Executives and 16 other business owners, stores, and dancers. "The first part of it is that they didn't do the fiscal review, the second part is that they will be spending tax dollars improperly by having to enforce this if it is sustained as being legitimate. The other part is that the fiscal review that was available didn't recognize that there's going to be a $4 million dollar hit to taxpayers if the bill is sustained."

The law is set to go into effect on August 28. Bryant tells the Pitch that he hope the state won't enforce the law until the suit filed yesterday is resolved. If not, he plans to file an injunction to stop its enforcement.

View the lawsuit below...

REVISED FINAL - Verified Petition - Cole County - 10-AUG-10




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