Senate panel OKs Jones bill to stop expansion of nude bars in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to stop the expansion of alcohol being served in bars with fully nude dancers.

“I don’t believe that America’s Founding Fathers intended a constitutional protection for getting drunk in a nude bar,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This bill will keep the status quo in Michigan and stop the expansion of fully nude entertainment into bars that serve alcohol.

“Without this alcohol restriction, we will have fewer protections for both tourists and dancers than Las Vegas, which has a similar ban for adult nightclubs.”

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2007 that Michigan’s liquor rules banning full nudity were unconstitutional. For 26 years, fully nude dancers in establishments serving alcohol have been banned in Michigan. After the ruling, some Michigan bars chose to expand to have fully nude dancer entertainment.

Jones checked with the attorney general’s office and was advised that both the city of Grand Rapids and the state of North Carolina have laws that have been tested and found to be constitutional.

Senate Bill 302 has been drafted to reflect these laws. SB 302 would prohibit full nudity in an establishment with an on-premises liquor license and ban a licensee from allowing the showing of scenes of nudity.

The bill would not apply to an exhibition or performance in a theater, concert hall, art center, museum or similar establishment that was primarily devoted to the arts or theatrical performances.