Senate OKs stripping liquor license from full-nude bars
Lansing — Michigan would strip state liquor licenses from bars offering fully nude entertainment under a bill passed by the state Senate on Wednesday.
Topless bars’ liquor licenses won’t be affected, bill sponsor Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said. The measure is intended to protect nude dancers, Jones said, suggesting they’re in greater danger in fully nude bars. He said it’s also needed to make sure Michigan remains a tourism-friendly state.
The measure would reinstate the ban on liquor being served at establishments with fully nude entertainment, which was overturned in 2007 by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which deemed it unconstitutional. Jones said he worked with the attorney general’s office to make sure his bill is constitutionally sound.
“I have actually talked with people in the industry — I don’t go to these places, obviously — but topless bar owners are saying, ‘Please keep the status quo. We don’t want that kind of place,’ ” Jones said. “It’s not safe for the women.
“And I don’t think we want to be known as Windsor, Canada, or Las Vegas. We want to be known as pure Michigan, where you come to see the beautiful lakes.”
Ten Democrats voted against the bill, including Sen. David Knezek from Dearborn Heights.
“This is another silly issue, when we should be talking about what’s going on in Detroit Public Schools, and what’s going on in Flint,” he said.
Jones said other bars are trying to offer fully nude shows, though Scott Ellis, director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said none of the establishments his organization represents have contacted him with such intentions. Ellis said he supports the bill, however.
Jones said at least two Michigan bars have had fully nude dancers, and he mentioned a popular Lansing LGBT nightclub called Spiral as a specific example.
Spiral general manager Samuel Courtney said since she’s been a manager for the past two years, they’ve never held fully nude entertainment and rarely have topless dancers. Courtney said if the bar did host a nude evening, it was “probably a private party.”
The House has not yet voted on the legislation.