Kentucky legislators introducing ‘sexually explicit’ ban bills again

Published 3:28 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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By Sarah Ladd

Kentucky Today

A Kentucky senator and representative will file mirror legislation Tuesday aimed at regulating “adult oriented businesses” and how close they can be to minors: no closer than a city block.

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Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, and Rep. Nancy Tate, R-Brandenburg, want their respective bills to move simultaneously, they said at a Tuesday press conference.

Should the legislation become law, businesses that violate the rules could lose their ability to renew business or liquor licenses and could receive cease and desist letters. Local governments, though, can add penalties on top of these, Tichenor said.

“This legislation is not intended to impede on any First Amendment rights of free speech, nor to impose limitations or reasonable access to the intended adult market,” Tichenor said. “The Commonwealth of Kentucky currently regulates many different businesses throughout the state, including car insurance industry health care, horse racing, real estate, and they do all of this for the betterment of our communities.”

Tichenor filed similar legislation in 2023 that stalled after it passed in the Senate. Recalling the 2023 controversy surrounding the legislation, as some said it was an attack on drag performances, Tichnor said that’s not her goal.

“This is not to limit drag,” she said. “This is not to limit access to adult content. It is strictly to keep children away from sexually explicit content.”

Tate added: “If sexually explicit drag performances were to occur in a library, then that obviously would be a problem.”

The legislation will include a five-year grace period for businessesthat are already established, Tichenor said.

“We also considered if a business was existing and a child care facility moved into the area and made them non compliant, they would not be in breach of these regulations,” she said.

“Children should be given the opportunity to develop … without thinking about sex or sexual preferences,” Tate said. “It is our responsibility as adults to protect the innocence of their minds and bodies.”