Bill To Ban Drag Shows In Public Spaces Up For House Floor Vote This Week

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

On Thursday, February 23rd at 9:00 am, HB0009 will be presented on the House Floor for consideration, debate and a vote for passage. 

After passing the House Criminal Justice Committee last week, the bill was pushed through and placed on the Regular Calendar for the House Floor session this week. 

HB0009, sponsored by Rep. Chris Todd (R-Madison County-District 73), as introduced, creates an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult. – Amends TCA Title 7, Chapter 51, Part 14.

The need for the changes to current law exist due to the references to the type of establishment that would ordinarily host this type of performance. According to the current law, “An adult-oriented establishment or adult cabaret shall not locate within one thousand feet (1,000′) of a childcare facility, a private, public, or charter school, a public park, family recreation center, a residence, or a place of worship.” 

In the past year, there has been an increase in these types of performances all across the state in places that are not historically the sort that would ordinarily offer them. 

For example, at Ijam’s Nature Center in Knoxville. Coffin Curse Records and Ricker were also responsible for the All Ages Punk & Drag Haunted House Drag Show last October, which was later changed to 18+ after pushback from the Maryville community.

Again in Maryville, The Bird & The Book hosted an ”anti Valentine’s Day Bash” last year that also stated it was an 18+ event, but included that children were welcome to attend with a parent. There have also been performances in Nashville at TPAC, which were originally marketed to being offered to all ages by the show’s promoter,  but that verbiage was removed after an outcry from the public.

These examples are just the shows that have been documented in the media, there are countless others that take place all over the state and country in restaurants, libraries, bookstores and even churches.

The law is now being amended to include specific language that makes the specific conduct illegal, if performed in public spaces, without the need for the conduct to be carried out in a business that provides these types of performances.  A distinction that many feel is needed in order to keep children from being exposed to inappropriate sexual conduct.

After the bill is presented in The House and it receives more than 50% of the votes (for the house it would be 50 or more, for the State Senate the number is 17), and there are no objections to the substance of the bill by either side of the General Assembly, it then passes to Governor Lee to be signed into law. 

If you wish to support this legislation aimed at protecting Tennessee’s children, make sure to contact your state representatives before Feb. 23rd, using the Find My Legislator tool found here.

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty.

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