Commissioner, County can toughen rules against adult businesses


An attorney for Jefferson County has reviewed state laws regarding strip clubs and has found there is "ample support" for the county to pass more stringent laws controlling such businesses, a county official said last week.

Specifically, there is evidence that the county can license strip clubs, said Jefferson County Commissioner Rusty Morgan.

Morgan said Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Michael Cassell made the conclusions after being asked to review state laws regarding strip clubs.

Cassell's interpretation conflicts with recent comments from Jefferson County Commissioner James G. Knode, who said he did not feel the county has the authority to license strip clubs.


Officials began looking into the possibility of licensing strip clubs after county resident Lavarr McBride requested that county officials consider more stringent laws controlling adult establishments.

McBride, a federal judiciary official who has served as an expert witness in sex offenses, is part of a group of people in the county concerned about the spread of adult businesses in the county.

Under McBride's proposal, a license for an adult business could be denied for many reasons, including whether the applicant falsely answered a question in the application process or if the person has been convicted of a sex crime like prostitution, distribution of harmful material to a minor or possession of child pornography.

McBride, Morgan and Cassell met recently to talk about the county's ability to regulate strip clubs, Morgan said.

McBride appeared before the commission last Thursday to talk about what he learned in the meeting with Cassell.

In addition to suggesting that the county consider licensing, McBride wants the county to consider conducting a study to determine what type of calls police have received relating to strip clubs.

Commission President Jane Tabb raised concerns about pushing ahead on the issue, especially since a committee which the commissioners agreed to form to study licensing-related issues has not had a chance to start working.

"I think the committee has to come to grips with this," Tabb said.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said he believed it was important for McBride to be involved in the process, since he is an expert in the field.

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