It looks like the new hot spot and battle ground for First Amendment freedoms and adult
entertainment rights is going to be the State of Kansas. The Legislature for the State of Kansas
has flirted with a Bill for several years that would regulate adult entertainment in numerous
fashions. For example, it would require adult entertainment establishments to have certain hours
of operation, more restrictive than the present. It would prohibit nudity in adult dance clubs and
require distance separations from dancers who are seminude and patrons. It also would affect
adult bookstores, including viewing booths and manners of operation.
In addition to the hours of operation and restrictions inside the club, the Kansas
Legislation would also require distance separations from adult establishments and schools,
churches and other sensitive receptors. In essence, the Kansas Legislation is designed to put a
stake in the heart of First Amendment freedoms and adult entertainment within the State of
Last month, Daniel Aaronson, Dr. Judith Hanna and Jeff Levy were asked to travel to
Kansas by the Equal Entertainment Group, Inc. in order to present testimony before a committee
of the House of Representatives. The nature of the testimony was to impart to this committee
why this Bill should not get out of committee and not go to the House of Representative’s floor.
Dr. Judith Hanna spoke about the aspects of modern dance and nude dancing being a
communicative message. She highlighted how nude dance and the need for nudity is part of
Jeff Levy testified as to other institutions causing more harm to children than does adult
entertainment establishments. He further testified as to his experiences within the adult
entertainment industry and the thousands upon thousands of hours that he has spent in adult clubs
without observing the alleged horrors of adult entertainment.
Daniel Aaronson testified in response to some of the proponents who were for the Bill.
Specifically those proponents talked about the secondary effects caused by adult entertainment
and introduced into the record the reports from Dr. Richard McLeary and testimony of attorney
Mr. Aaronson pointed out that much of the testimony presented by the proponents of the
bill was inaccurate. He pointed out that Kansas being in the Tenth Circuit and the leading case
within that Circuit Court of Appeals would indicate that the State’s endeavor may be
unconstitutional. He further testified as to the fact that both Dr. McCleary and Mr. Bergthold
painted pictures of the ease that these type of bills are held to be constitutional is not in actuality
the case. In fact, Mr. Aaronson was able to point out cases both in the Tenth Circuit and the
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in which Dr. McCleary’s methodology and testimony was
basically called junk science and Mr. Bergthold’s advocacy of the same defeated.
Daniel Aaronson also discussed the cost of this legislation to the State. He pointed out
the jobs that would be lost and the cost to the State to defend the Bill.
There were several adult dancers who testified also. They were by and large articulate,
well-mannered and intelligent. Yet their reception by some of the members of the committee
was less than cordial, with one Holier than Thou Representative questioning how a woman could
be naked in front of strange men.
At the close of the hearing, it appeared that the chance was there that this Bill would
again be killed in committee. However, apparently some of the religious zealots on the
committee were not going to allow that to be the case. One week after the committee held its
hearings, the Bill made it out of committee and was approved by the House of Representatives as
The amazing aspect of this Bill is that the committee did not have evidence that the
twenty-five or so adult clubs in the State caused any adverse secondary effects. Rather, the Bill
seemed to take on life as its sponsor has plans to be the next Attorney General of the State.
The Bill is now currently in front of the State Senate where it certainly is hoped that it
will die. Unfortunately, with the momentum from the House of Representatives vote, we can
only cross our fingers, hold our breath and hope that the Senate does the right thing. If it is
passed, more than likely the Equal Entertainment Group, Inc. will gather forces together and
challenge the law. In addition to the fact that the Bill is not sustained by a showing of adverse
secondary effects and does not further a substantial governmental interest, the Bill also has
several internal flaws that are ripe for constitutional challenge. It is much better that the Bill is
not passed than challenges made in Court. However, this legislation is ripe for challenge and the
Equal Entertainment Group, Inc. seems to have the will to make that challenge.