For those of you who have not heard, the battle in Fort Lauderdale and more specifically between the City of Fort Lauderdale and Gum Wrappers has finally come to a close. After seven years of litigation the matter is being put to rest with a dismissal of the Federal lawsuit by Gumwrappers and an agreement by the parties to bear their own attorney fees and costs.
Although Gumwrappers represented by Richard Rosenbaum put up a valent fight that caused the four foot ordinance to be stayed for approximately the last seven years, the end result of this litigation is that now in the City of Fort Lauderdale the four foot rule is in effect. What this means, is that any establishment that provides nudity or partial nudity must keep their dancers four feet away from patrons while entertaining. As to what attire the dancers may wear, that has already been decided and ordinances are in effect that spell out exactly what attire is allowed depending on the nature of the establishment.
In other news, currently there is a new bill in front of the State Senate. This bill would amend Section 847.0134 of the Florida Statutes that currently requires that no adult entertainment establishment be located within 2500 feet of a school. The current State Statute allows for those establishments that were in existence prior to July 1, 2001 to remain in existence.
Since taking effect of this statute in July of 2001, the state legislature has several times brought this matter up for revision. The current revision has itself been revised several times. Some of the revisions have done away with the grandfather status of clubs that were there prior to July 1, 2001 while other proposals have kept the grandfather status. Some proposals have changed the 2500 feet to 2000 feet distance separation, while other proposals allow for establishments to be within 2500 feet of a school should the local school board give permission for the same.
As of right now what the final legislation will look like has not been determined. It may in fact not affect any establishments that are currently in existence, while it may cause numerous establishments that are currently in existence to be required to close. Legislation such as this are the reasons why we have encouraged all of you throughout the years to join either ACE or the Free Speech Coalition. Both of these organizations have made it a priority to inform local chapters of impending legislation that will affect the adult entertainment industry. Unfortunately, last years attempt at forming an ACE chapter in South Florida fizzled out. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the impetus for a new ACE chapter to start up here in South Florida. Nonetheless, it should be impetus for all of you to contact your local state senators and legislators to give your input that bills such as mentioned herein are not necessary, are not needed, and infringe on people’s rights to act as adult in the State of Florida.