Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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November 28, 2012

City mulls licensing adult entertainers

Kokomo could be first in state to do so

Entertainers at Kokomo’s adult venues soon could be required to receive a license from the city in order to perform.

Councilwoman Cindy Sanders asked others on the Kokomo Common Council earlier this year to consider adopting an ordinance to license performers as a way to prevent human trafficking in the sex trades.

Before the Super Bowl in Indianapolis last February, state legislators passed an ordinance making it a crime to transport people to the Hoosier capital for prostitution.

Kokomo could become the first community in Indiana to require a license for dancers in the adult entertainment industry.

During the council’s caucus before Monday’s public meeting, president Mike Kennedy announced the council’s Public Safety Committee will discuss a possible adult entertainment license ordinance.

He said the committee will either create a new ordinance or amend an existing one to make it mandatory for adult entertainers to be licensed.

Kennedy said the committee must ensure that federal, state and local laws are not compromised by such a license requirement. He said the council doesn’t want to intrude on any civil rights or be in violation of the Indiana or U.S. constitutions.

The plan is to have the committee draft an ordinance and have it reviewed by council attorney Corbin King, Kennedy said. The proposal then would be presented to the council and provided to Kokomo attorney Lawrence McCormack for review.

Kennedy said the council wants the support of Mayor Greg Goodnight for any ordinance that is proposed.

No timeline for the draft ordinance was established.

“This is something we can do that can work for the community,” Kennedy said. “This is not an easy thing to do.”

Council members on the Public Safety Committee include Kennedy, Sanders, Bob Cameron, Janie Young and Tom Miklik.

At the council meeting Nov. 19, resident Don Burris asked the council to consider such an ordinance.

“Indiana has a documented problem with human trafficking,” he told council members. “To license dancers is an important consideration for a small town with six clubs. Give the community the opportunity for input.”

Kennedy said he decided to consider a licensing ordinance after discussions with community residents.

Sanders said she was caught off guard by Kennedy’s decision.

“I’m surprised and thankful,” she said. “There are individuals that need protection. This will better our community and move it forward.”

Sanders said there are many professions that require a license for the protection of consumers. She said the community is ready for a licensing requirement for adult entertainers.


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