You have probably heard that after returning on Monday, Indiana House Democrats were a no show on Tuesday afternoon in protest of passage of a Right to Work bill out of the House Labor Committee. The Democrats wanted more time for debate. The chairman decided that several hours of testimony for both sides were enough. The fact that much of the public testimony came during a joint House and Senate Committee hearing was not a concern of the committee chairman. He pointed out that the Senate Committee had already passed the bill, and it was time for the House to do the same. They did, and the Democrats walked.
Democrats threw a fit because the committee chairman decided not to hear more amendments, particularly those from Democrats. This may not be the most gracious decision, but it is hardly unusual nor a violation of the Constitution or House rules as some claim. A chairman can be so "fair" that nothing happens. This was done to move the process forward. Amendments can still be offered on the House floor if the House has a quorum of at least 67 members present.
In other matters, our national office sent out an alert on Senate Bill 183, which is now co-authored by Senators Schneider and Walker, along with authors, Senators Banks and Kruse. This bill sets some statewide basic regulations for sex businesses. They have been upheld in state and federal courts, including the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Indiana. The purpose of the bill is to limit the harmful secondary effects of such businesses. This is particularly true of crime, though lower property values and urban blight have also been longstanding problems associated with sexually oriented businesses.
One of the key provisions of SB 183 prevents patrons from having physical contact with dancers in strip clubs. Interestingly, most states around Indiana already prohibit such contact. For example, in Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Florida, paying a semi-nude woman at a club to dance on your lap for your sexual gratification constitutes prostitution, as it should. Ohio also bans such contact. In that state its passage was argued more for the purpose of protecting dancers from being groped or propositioned by drunk or unruly men.
We believe that Senate Bill 183 deserves serious consideration in the Indiana Senate. Your contacting your state Senator about this bill would be very helpful. You can read more about this bill and email your Senator through this special AFA alert link: http://www.votervoice.net/Core/core.aspx?APP=GAC&AID=365&issueid=27034&SiteID=-1
We also have more on this legislation on the AFA-IN web site, including studies accepted by the US Supreme Court showing the criminal activities and crime problems long associated with sexually oriented businesses.