Kansas lawmakers are tightening the G-string on strip clubs. Members of the Kansas House approved a bill that would require adult clubs to be closed between midnight and 6 p.m., be located at least 1,000 feet away from a school or church, and mandate that exotic dancers stay at least six feet from patrons.

Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, told reporters that legislation wasn’t an attempt to legislate morality or sin.

“Nor is it an attempt to prohibit sexually-oriented businesses or drive them out of business,” he said.

We don’t see how the legislation could be viewed otherwise – although Rubin argued that it’s the state’s job to protect health, safety and welfare without infringing on property rights.

This bill misses on all counts. We aren’t sure whose health and safety and welfare are protected with this legislation, and it’s a horrid infringement on personal property rights.

Property owners should be allowed to use their properties as they see fit within the confines of the law. However, this law goes too far.

As distasteful as we find strip clubs, they provide a service – one that poses no physical danger to the health and welfare of Kansas citizens – that some people are willing to pay for.
Gentleman’s clubs, as they’re often called, don’t usually harbor gentlemen, but they are providing jobs. And in this economy, even a distasteful job is better than not being able to feed your family.

The legislation will likely shutter some businesses. The state will lose some sales tax dollars and some people will lose their jobs as a result.

It’s unfortunate that Topeka lawmakers are wasting their time and our money debating the morality of long-standing businesses. Instead, they should be determining how they’re going to fill an enormous hole in the state budget and how they can help put Kansans back to work.