After being threatened with a lawsuit, a Clark County committee has decided not to pursue an ordinance regulating strip clubs.
The debate got to that age-old question: should government legislate morality? It arose in response to two burlesque clubs opening in Clark County.
The Law Enforcement committee considered an ordinance Tuesday that wouldn't ban nude dancing, but would put some limits and licensing restrictions on the industry. Jeff Olson, a civil rights lawyer from Madison, spoke on behalf of one of the clubs. Olson argued that government shouldn't be used to force the morality of one group on other people.
Neillsville-area supervisor Bill Elmhorst, who spearheaded the ordinance, disagreed with Olson. He says the government is the people and has the right to determine what is harmful to society.
Olson said his client could live with most of the ordinance, but warned an expensive lawsuit unless certain provisions were removed. His main concern was a requirement for a five-foot buffer zone around dancers, because it would make it difficult for customers to pay them.
Olson ran off a list of other municipalities that have passed similar ordinances, which were sued and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The committee decided not to pursue the measure.