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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund
Smart Voter
State of Ohio November 6, 2007 Election
Issue 1
Referendum on Substitute Senate Bill 16
State of Ohio

Submitted by Referendum Petition

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary | Arguments |

Shall Substitute Senate Bill No. 16, be approved? (Please vote "Yes" if you are in favor of the bill. Please vote "No" if you are not in favor of the bill. The bill is explained below.)

Substitute Senate Bill No. 16 would make certain changes to state law that regulates the operation of sexually oriented businesses and adult entertainment establishments. These changes include:

Requiring the State of Ohio to compensate local governments (townships, cities and villages) who enforce local laws regulating adult entertainment establishments when those local laws have been adopted with the guidance of the Ohio Attorney General and when those laws are found unconstitutional or invalid by a court, with certain exceptions for payment of such compensation,

Preempting local laws that are found by a court to be in conflict with the proposed state law regulating adult entertainment establishments,

Prohibiting sexually oriented businesses from being open for business between midnight and 6 a.m., except that sexually oriented businesses with a liquor permit may remain open until the hours specified in the permit if they do not conduct, offer, or allow, sexually oriented entertainment activity in which the performers appear nude,

Prohibiting customers and employees of sexually oriented businesses who are not immediate family members from touching each other while on the premises of that business and while the employee is nude or seminude, and

Creating misdemeanor criminal offenses relating to hours of operation and for customers and employees who violate the no touch provisions of the law, setting the penalty at a fourth degree misdemeanor, except when the touching is in specified anatomical areas, in which case, the penalty is a first degree misdemeanor.

If Substitute Senate Bill No. 16 is approved, it shall become law.


YES (To approve the law)

NO (To reject the law)

State Issue 1 is a referendum to determine whether Substitute Senate Bill 16 (SB 16), which regulates adult, or sexually oriented, businesses, will stand as law or be rejected by voters. SB 16 passed the Senate by a vote of 24-8, passed the House by a vote of 73-24, and then became law without the Governor's signature. Before the law could go into effect in September, opponents submitted enough signatures to send the bill to voters for reconsideration. With a majority YES vote, the law will go into effect. With a majority NO vote, the law will not go into effect.

If SB 16 goes into effect, the following changes will be made to state law:

  • Adult businesses -- which include sexually oriented book and video stores as well as X-rated theaters and strip clubs -- must close between midnight and 6 a.m. Clubs with liquor licenses could remain open and serve until the hours specified in the liquor permit, but all fully nude entertainment must end at midnight.
  • Customers of such businesses will be prohibited from touching performers and their clothing, and performers will be prohibited from touching customers and their fellow performers.
  • Customers and performers who violate the "no touch" provisions of the law will be guilty of a misdemeanor criminal offense.
  • The state will pay local governments' costs for lawsuits arising from this law under certain conditions, for example, if a local ordinance drafted with the guidance of the Ohio Attorney General is declared unconstitutional.

Arguments Submitted

Summary of Arguments FOR Issue 1:
Arguments for passage:

1. The law provides uniform rules to regulate adult businesses throughout Ohio, ensuring consistency across local government lines.

2. The law may help reduce crime such as prostitution, thereby protecting property values and reducing the neighborhood blight that sometimes surrounds such businesses.

3. The law protects performers in strip clubs from exploitation and abuse by customers.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Issue 1:
Arguments against passage:

1. The law overrides home rule, taking away the right of local governments to pass regulations that govern local adult businesses. These businesses are, after all, legal and already regulated by local zoning, liquor, and criminal laws (for example, those prohibiting prostitution).

2. The law violates First Amendment protections and infringes on performers' constitutional right to free expression.

3. The law may negatively affect Ohio's $250-million-per-year adult entertainment industry, hurting the state's economy, including convention business.
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Created: December 19, 2007 17:42 PST
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