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Associated Press, Published January 29 2009

ND Senate: Strippers a local issue

Adult entertainment registration not state business, senators say

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s Tax Department should not be in the business of registering strippers, lap dancers and nudie bars, the state Senate has concluded, with one senator saying the job should be left to local governments.

“We think that this is a political subdivisions problem,” said Sen. Stan Lyson, R-Williston, a former sheriff. “They can (decide) their own way of doing this. They can register those people if they want to.”

Cass County law enforcement agencies had requested the legislation, which ordered the Tax Department to provide registration forms for sex businesses, bars featuring nude dancers and the strippers themselves.

Agencies supported the bill – SB2170 – as a way to keep track of the area’s adult entertainment industry, a business they say often is linked to prostitution and drugs.

The proposal required nude dancers to keep detailed records of taxable income and their registration certificates in their possession “at any time the individual is providing live nude entertainment.”

Senators voted 45-1 on Wednesday to defeat the measure. Its only supporter was its principal sponsor, Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo.

Bars already register with state government, “and not all of them have dancers and strippers in there,” Lyson said. “But the ones that do, it should be left up to the local (governments) to make the law to have them register.”

Lyson also said he doubted having the strippers register would do much good.

“These performers change their name each time they go to a different place to perform,” he said. “We’d have a whole bunch of names there, without any identification, if we did this in the state.”

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