Debate over strip club ordinance continues - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Debate over strip club ordinance continues

The issue of strip club laws continued to be a hot topic of debate between Shelby County Commissioners Wednesday.

After the Shelby County Commission passed tough new strip club laws recently, the Memphis City Council scrambled to get its own ordinance in place before the county's laws hit the books in January.

Wednesday, Commissioners said that's the wrong idea.

"I think it's an extreme disservice to the people throughout the county and the city of Memphis for the council to possibly, in effect, weaken the ordinance that we passed," Commissioner David Lillard said.

The Council's version of the ordinance would allow dancers to go topless, while the Commission wants them to wear pasties over their nipples.  The Council would allow beer, while Commissioners voted against all alcohol.

Whatever the City Council decides will override the Shelby County Commission's ordinance within city limits in Memphis.

"That's their prerogative, but we put it in place already," said Commissioner Joe Ford. "If they just go by the one that we passed, I think it'll be fine."
Some City Council members have expressed worry the city will lose millions of dollars in sales tax revenues from beer sales, but Commissioners said that is no excuse for a weaker law.

"There are times when government has to say that this particular activity is not appropriate when combined with this other activity," Lillard said.

Commissioners said it's not just about changing the perception that anything goes in Memphis strip clubs, it's about preventing the crime often found in and around them.

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