Stripper law may go to voters

COLUMBUS — Citizens for Community Standards continues to collect 8,000 to 9,000 petition signatures every day, with the goal of gathering 450,000 so that they easily clear the required 241,366 valid voter signatures needed to put a repeal of Ohio's new stripper law on the November ballot, said lobbyist Neil Clark.

The law is scheduled to take effect Sept. 3 but will likely be blocked once signatures are turned in, said Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Then county boards of elections have 10 days to check signatures and report back to Brunner's office. If Citizens for Community Standards lacks enough valid signatures, it has 10 more days to collect enough.

The five-member Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday approved language for State Issue 1, in anticipation that it'll make the ballot. The measure would ask voters if the law should take effect.

Citizens for Community Standards wants voters to repeal a law adopted earlier this year by the General Assembly that restricts adult entertainment businesses including strip clubs, peep shows and adult bookstores.

The law would force many such operations to close between midnight and 6 a.m. and institute a no-touch rule between strippers and patrons.

While Citizens for Community Standards wants voters to repeal the law, Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values wants the law to take effect.

Each side wrote a 300-word argument on why voters should see it their way. Voters who read both arguments may wonder if they're talking about the same law.

CCS: "Here's what's really going on: Ohio's self-appointed morality police want to close down adult businesses because they don't like them. ... This law is so extreme that if a customer and dancer just shake hands, they both could go to jail for 30 days."

CCV: "A YES vote on Issue 1 keeps a law on the books that protects families and communities. Statewide polls prove it: Ohioans want common-sense, protective regulations on sex businesses. ... It's time to stop letting the Larry Flynts of the world dictate our community standards."