MANATEE -- After years of court hearings and several drafts, the county’s ordinance governing sexually oriented businesses will stand now that the opportunity for a final legal challenge -- to the U.S. Supreme Court -- has hit its deadline.
Any challenge to the county’s regulations had to be filed to the U.S. Supreme Court today. James A. Minix, chief deputy county attorney, said it doesn’t look like that will happen.
So now, Minix said, it’s time to get businesses like the Peek-A-Boo lounge, which has long resisted county regulation, to get its business license to run a sexually oriented business. Currently, only about 13 percent of the county’s suspected sexually oriented businesses, including strip clubs, cabarets, novelty shops and book stores, are in compliance with the county’s regulations.
The county’s various attempts to regulate strip clubs and other similar businesses began in 1999 when it passed a nudity ordinance, which was challenged in federal courts based on First Amendment rights.
In 2000, the county came back with an adult entertainment code amendment now dubbed “Peek-A-Boo I,” that also ended up in court. The county won the first challenge, but on appeal had to go back and justify the need for such a code.
The county was able to meet those requirements in the latest version of the code and won the right in the federal courts to implement the code, despite a challenge from Peek-A-Boo.
Minix said the new ordinance Sexually Oriented Business Code 05-21 is a model code now used all over the country.