City Council passed an ordinance in 2005 seeking to regulate sexually-oriented businesses, but an injunction fell into place that prevented the city from enforcing the new rules. The injunction was lifted in 2010, but sexually-oriented businesses have continued to operate with very few regulations being enforced.
District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez is looking to change all that with his ordinance that strengthens the language as to what constitutes a sexually-oriented business.
"It's going to tighten the rules up a bit,” Lopez said. “Don't feel sorry for them, but the ones that are going to get the unintended consequences, those clubs that have been operating generally under the rules, are now going to have to go and get that permit and file for it because there are some bad actors in the industry."
The city counts 26 businesses currently operating as sexually-oriented businesses, but aren't licensed as such.
"In effect they were sexually oriented,” said Lopez. “Come on. There's no one that could drive by there, we always say, pass the red face test."
Among the new rules, the criminal penalty will increase from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A, it will require expanded coverage of the female breast, and it eliminates the term, “human display/human display establishment” and will instead implement one consistent term, "sexually-oriented business."
The city says studies have found a correlation between these types of businesses and high crime rates in the surrounding neighborhoods, with narcotics and prostitution the main criminal activity.
Lopez said sexually-oriented businesses are determined by the top the entertainer wears. Anything less than a bikini top is sexually oriented.
"Be up front about it and don't be across from a school and church. My God. Come on. Give me a break," said Lopez.
The full city council will examine the new rules at its Dec. 6 council meeting and full text of the ordinance can be found by clicking here.