County Commissioners debate new rules for SOB's

What kind of behavior is considered too risque for Sexually Oriented Businesses in Shelby County? County commissioners debated new rules for the businesses.

Shelby County Commissioners voted to pass tougher laws on SOB's.

While they still have a third and final vote two weeks from now, there is now an outline for what SOB's can and cannot do.

Commissioners call it a public safety issue. "We're hoping that, over time, the bad apples will go out of business and then we'll be left with Sexually Oriented Businesses, but only those that obey the law," says Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

The Land Use Committee voted unanimously for tougher SOB laws to clean up the image of the most lewd strip clubs in the nation. "This requires that every owner of a sexually-oriented business and every employee get a license," adds Mulroy.

Strip clubs, one hour motels and stores that show adult films would fall under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Office.

"There certainly will be an oversight role we'll have to play," says Sheriff Mark Lutrell.

Unless the City Council draws up its own SOB ordinance, the new rules would cover Memphis. "Random checks, covert observations to make sure that everything is working appropriately and then of course the licensing process," adds Lutrell.

Employees would have to get finger printed for background checks and an Adult Business Board would have the power to revoke or suspend licenses.

"If they allow underage drinking or prostitution or contact to take place or they violate laws in other ways, then this board can pull their license and they won't be able to operate as an SOB anymore," says Mulroy.

Employees or SOB owners could be banned from the business for up to five years if their licenses are revoked or if they break the law.


to email Kontji Anthony.