Last year, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that outlawed 18 to 20-year-old women from performing in strip clubs. It even outlawed them working as a waitress in the strip clubs. That law was struck down last month by a Federal judge.
But it has not deterred Louisiana legislators from filing dumb bills barring young women from making a legal living, State Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles) is back with SB 144 which is an attempt to get a young stripper ban that can pass legal muster. But this go around, Johns is not just going after young dancers, he’s going after nipples too.
Louisiana strip clubs could face more regulations called for in new legislation aimed at fixing a law passed last year that barred women under the age of 21 from performing nude in adult venues. A federal judge struck down last month a ban on women age 18 to 20 dancing in strip clubs approved during the 2016 legislative session.
Much of state Sen. Ronnie Johns’ bill appears aimed at cleaning up language that U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier found was too problematic to keep the entire law in place. Although Barbier said the state was on firm legal ground in seeking to shield women age 18 to 20 from the “secondary effects” of nude dancing in bars — including human trafficking and narcotics — he said there were other parts of the law that were vague.
Among the vague provisions Barbier cited was “inconsistency” in Louisiana statutes “with respect to its definition of the naked breast.” Under Johns’ bill, the law would create a new definition for “semi-nude” that allows women over 21 to show their breasts, but prohibits men and women younger than that from “showing a majority of the male or female buttocks” and the “lower portion of the female breast.”
The legislation is crafted to allow women younger than 21 to work at bars and restaurants where skimpy clothing is worn as part of a uniform, and also seeks to limit the exposure of 18- to 20-year-old cocktail waitresses at adult nightclubs. For instance: An 18- to 20-year-old could serve drinks at a strip club or wear a bikini-like uniform at a restaurant, but she wouldn’t be able to wear a thong, “T-back” underwear or nipple coverings such as pasties while doing it.
In addition to all this, Johns’s bill would outlaw the showing of nipples in strip clubs in Louisiana, regardless of the age of strippers.
How this fights sex trafficking, we aren’t sure. But we’re sure this is yet another case of government trying to play mommy and daddy. Both the patrons and dancers are adults and the state should treat them as such.