MYNORTHWEST NEWS

‘Strippers Bill of Rights’ signed into law, allows adult establishments to serve alcohol

Mar 25, 2024, 2:35 PM | Updated: 2:36 pm

Strippers...

Andrea, no last name given, who works as a stripper in Seattle area clubs, poses for a portrait at her apartment, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Seattle. Andrea is among those fighting for bills to pass in the state Legislature that would expand statewide protections to workers, like having a security guard at each club, keypad codes to enter dressing rooms and de-escalation training. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law Monday the so-called ‘Strippers Bill of Rights,’ which is designed to help protect the performers while also allowing clubs to sell alcohol.

Senate Bill 6105 is aimed at bolstering safety measures and rights for workers within adult entertainment establishments.

The bill navigates a complex landscape of concerns ranging from worker exploitation to alcohol regulations.

Advocates emphasized the need for comprehensive training, especially in alcohol-related enforcement, to safeguard employees and patrons.

It also requires the Liquor Cannabis Board to strip away lewd laws governing liquor license holders, thus opening the door for alcohol to be served at strip clubs.

Central to the bill was the plight of strippers, often marginalized and vulnerable to exploitation.

Representative Gerry Pollett (D-Seattle) says there are more strip clubs in his North Seattle district than any other legislative district in the state.

“The workers and the communities deserve and need these protections that are long overdue,” Pollett said just before the House floor vote.

Travis Mayfield: Strippers, strip club owners deserve equity under state law

Current rules established by the LCB say a liquor license holder could lose their license if anyone is nearly naked and engaging in physical contact. Removing the lewd law is needed for strip clubs to serve alcohol which means there are fewer restrictions on dancers.

The House approved a long list of changes to the original Senate bill including:

1. Employee Training: Mandatory training for adult entertainment establishment employees must be completed by March 1, 2025, with possible translation for non-English-speaking employees.
2. Customer Allegation Records: Written policies and procedures must be established for recording allegations involving customers, and establishments must make these policies available to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) upon request. The requirement for annual reporting to L&I is removed.
3. Security Requirement: At least one dedicated security person must be present during operating hours, primarily tasked with monitoring interactions between entertainers and patrons. L&I is required to adopt rules regarding security personnel duties during peak operating hours.
4. Liquor License Inspection: L&I must conduct inspections within 90 days of receiving notice from the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) regarding establishments applying for liquor licenses.
5. Age Restriction: The restriction on persons under age 21 accessing establishments serving alcohol now applies to all individuals, including employees, entertainers, contractors, and customers.
6. Leasing Fee Modification: The term “leasing fee” is expanded to include fees for access or use of premises or for conducting entertainment.
7. LCB Rule Preemption: The LCB is preempted from adopting rules restricting exposure of body parts or sexually-oriented conduct by licensees, employees, or patrons.
8. Effective Date: Workplace safety and fee-related provisions take effect on January 1, 2025, while other provisions take effect 90 days after the session’s adjournment.

One change specifically targets cities with a population of over 650,000 and counties with a population of 2 million. Only Seattle and King County met those requirements.

Seattle and King County could not enact local ordinances limiting payment collection by entertainers or restricting proximity between dancers and customers.

Other cities and counties would be allowed to do so.

National news: Dancers at Los Angeles bar to become only unionized strippers in US after 15-month battle

Years ago, Seattle had a four-foot ordinance between dancers and customers. A violation could result in a fine for the dancer.

Because of the long list of changes made in the House, the bill now goes back to the Senate for a vote.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

Contributing: Matt Markovich, KIRO Newsradio.

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