Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hard Rolls in America's Breadbasket

BYOB Strip ClubImage by Random Factor via Flickr

Roadside signs flogging strip clubs and purveyors of sexual paraphrenalia won't be coming down this week courtesy of a federal judge, who granted a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Kansas Statute Annotated (KSA) sec.68-2255 (2006) that curtailed billboards within one mile of a highway that advertise adult businesses.

U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas Judge Julie A. Robinson this week allowed the plaintiff's motion to enjoin enforcement of the statute in the case of Abilene Retail #30, Inc. d/b/a Lion's Den Adult Superstore v. Steven N. Six in His Official Capacity as Kansas Attorney General (No. 09-2195). Under the provisions of the Kansas statute, such signs were limited to 40 square feet in size and could only display the name, phone number, location, and operating hours of adult enterprises.

The Lion's Den challenged the statute as a prior restraint of commercial free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The adult "superstore," which is located along Interstate 70 in Abilene, Kansas, has three billboards designed to attract passing motorists, but claims the signs display only the name, location and logo of the story, without illustrations or photographs.

Judge Robinson's order for injunctive relief does not address the constitutionality of the Kansas statute. Similar laws have been overturned in a handful of states, including South Carolina and Georgia. The Court held that Lion's Den met its burden of proving that KSA sec. 68-2255 "impermissibly regulates commercial speech."

For now, Kansas summer vacationers can barrel down I-70 "Topeka" the Lion's Den billboards.
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