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Unless an appeals court rules in their favor soon, it looks like Missouri's strip-club employees will be dancing fully clothed come midnight tonight. Today, a Cole County Circuit Court judge denied a temporary restraining order that would allow clubs to operate without the restrictions the legislature passed earlier this year while the club owners fight the new law in court. Club owners are appealing the decision, arguing that the judge treated their temporary restraining order as if it were a request for an injunction, which requires different legal considerations.
Anyway, just so they stay legit, clubs around the metro will stay open and operate as normal with one big difference. At midnight, all the dancers have to cover up. "At that time we won't be a sexually oriented business, and the law won't apply to us," says Bazooka's Showgirls owner Dick Snow.
As club owners understand it -- and as they'll likely be telling their employees tonight -- dancers will have to be dressed in a manner that covers any area of the breast that dips below the areola. They'll also have to make sure that none of their butts or cracks are showing.
That rules on areola meant that Cadence would likely be an outlaw if she were dressed this way.
But this next outfit would probably be all right within the eyes of the law.
As far as her posterior goes, if she was dressed this way, again, she'd be in danger of breaking the law. You'll note the butt-cleavage at the top.
If she didn't want to get ticketed, she'd have to put on this more appropriate, law-abiding outfit.
So, as you can see, the new law is no way absurd or subjective.
In case you don't know the history, earlier this month, adult businesses filed a lawsuit in Cole County to stop a bill banning nude dancing and alcohol sales in Missouri's strip clubs. The law also places withering restrictions on adult bookstores. Business owners say the rules would regulate them and their 3,000 employees right out of work. The suit argues that the legislation itself is unconstitutional, and that lawmakers passed it without conducting the necessary review of its financial implications to the state.
The state countered with Tennessee lawyer Scott Bergthold
. Hired as a special assistant to the attorney general, Bergthold defended the legilsation on Thursday morning. He should know the law better than anyone. After all, he wrote it.
As I previously reported in the June feature "Exit Boobies,"
a version of the law club owners are fighting today was drafted by Bergthold years ago. Social conservatives in state legislatures in Kansas, Tennessee, Colorado, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Georgia and Florida have introduced bills that follow the Bergthold template. The legislation failed in every state except Ohio, where the bill that finally passed mandated midnight closing times but did not restrict nudity or alcohol sales.
touts his practice as the "nation's only law firm focused exclusively on drafting and defense of municipal adult business regulations." He's made a lot of money defending his own work in court, even though he can cost his clients a lot more than his own legal fees. Five years ago, Sioux City, Iowa, paid a small fortune to an adult bookstore Bergthold couldn't beat in court, and the city ended up paying the bookstore more than $600,000 when it was determined that the city's actions were actually illegal and unconstitutional.