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State Strip Clubs a Thing Of the Past

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

The rule which mimics a state-law is considered the toughest anti-obscenity law in the nation.

Approved by the Alabama Legislature in 1998, it's been rarely enforced

Out of about 40 topless bars in the state, only two are here in the Wiregrass.

Toy Box Too in Newton, and Night Moves Gentleman’s Club in Wicksburg.

In Dothan, gentleman's clubs like these don't operate topless because of a city ordinance against it.

District ABC Board Executive Lt. Jean Turner says, "It came with a test case T-backs versus the city of Daleville in 1996 that was appealed and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1998. So basically, just all of our commissions and boards met and we have come into compliance with the state law."

Under the enforcement, dancers will be required to wear opaque bikini tops and bottoms that cover up the backside--and no lace!

But as owner of one of two topless bars in the Wiregrass, Brad Nelson says this is quote, "ridiculous." He believes if customers wanted to see bikini dancing, they'd go to the beach.

"They'll loose money, all of us will loose money, the business will suffer, the girls will suffer," Nelson says, "Bartenders, people I've got employed here that feed their families, everyone will suffer."

Student by day, dancer by night, Amanda Smith says she began dancing topless because she got thousands more per week than she did with a bikini on.

Money she says is being used on her Masters Degree.

"I'll have to get a second job, I won't be able to go to school full-time and it'll slow down my education I might even have to quit school because I won't have a way to pay for it anymore. I already have $30,000 in student loans, what am I going to do if I don't have the money to pay for it"

While Toy Box Too owners contend they'll go with the flow and keep options open Nelson says he is rallying with other topless bars.

His first step he says is to meet with the ABC Board, and from there see what can be done.

The new rule went into effect Oct. 25, and club owners and dancers have until Dec. 1 to comply.

If they don't that means they will face a class c felony and $200 in fines.

This rule also applies to male strippers and wet "t-shirt" contests.

Any business with an on-premise license from ABC must comply with the rule.

ABC officials say it'll put everyone on the same playing field.

Meanwhile, one Birmingham topless bar has already asked a federal judge to block the state from enforcing the law.

The judge says he'll rule on that this Friday.


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