Referendum 1 - Adult Entertainment Regulation - Ballot Title
CITY OF SEATTLE
REFERENDUM NO. 1
The Seattle City Council passed Ordinance Number 121952 concerning the licensing and regulation of adult entertainment. Voters filed a sufficient referendum petition to refer the ordinance to a public vote.
Among other things, Ordinance Number 121952 would: (1) add new provisions concerning license issuance, suspension and revocation; (2) prohibit adult entertainers from performing within four feet of customers, or directly accepting gratuities; (3) require specific lighting levels at adult-entertainment premises; (4) prohibit entertainment that is not visible from all public areas within the premises; (5) require premises to allow announced City inspections during business hours; and (6) allow the city attorney to file nuisance actions against adult-entertainment premises that violate the law.
Should this ordinance be:
City Attorney’s established explanatory statement
Adult Entertainment Ordinance referendum measure (Ord. 121952)
1. Ordinance Number 121952 and the referendum process
In 2005 the city council passed and the mayor signed Ordinance Number 121952. The Ordinance would add new provisions to and amend some present provisions of Municipal Code Chapter 6.270 governing adult-entertainment establishments.
Article IV Section 1 of the city charter provides for a referendum petition process. If the required number of Seattle voters (at least eight percent of the total number of votes cast for the office of mayor in the most recent City election) sign referendum petitions regarding an ordinance, the ordinance does not take effect and instead is referred to City voters for their approval or rejection.
The required number of voters signed referendum petitions to refer Ordinance Number 121952 to a public vote.
2. The law as it presently exists
The Seattle Municipal Code currently contains provisions governing adult entertainment (Municipal Code Chapter 6.270). The code includes requirements concerning both licensing and conduct. Among other things the existing code:
Requires persons to obtain a license from the City before they operate adult-entertainment premises, or work as a manager or entertainer at these premises.
Requires prospective licensees to provide certain information to the City in their license applications. For example, a person who wishes to obtain an adult-entertainment premises license must supply information that includes items such as the identities of all prospective business partners, whether Seattle or another jurisdiction has denied, suspended or revoked the applicant’s adult-entertainment license within the last three years, and whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime within the last five years.
Requires certain standards of conduct at adult-entertainment premises. For example, the code prohibits nudity except on a stage set above the floor level and at least six feet from the nearest patron. Certain sexual acts or touching are also prohibited. In addition, lighting must be sufficient to make ”plainly visible” those parts of the premises that are open to the public, and entertainment cannot be offered behind locked doors.
Allows the City to suspend or revoke the licenses of violators.
3. The effect of Ordinance 121952 if approved by the voters
Ordinance 121952 would make a number of changes to the City’s adult-entertainment laws. Among other things the Ordinance:
Would change a number of provisions governing adult-entertainment licenses issued by the City. For example, it would require license applicants to submit additional information, and would establish deadlines for the City to issue or deny a license.
Would expand the circumstances in which the City could suspend or revoke licenses, including for conduct by other persons of which the owner or manager knew or should have known.
Would add new provisions governing the conduct of adult entertainers and the operation of adult-entertainment premises. For example, it would prohibit entertainers from performing within four feet of customers, or from directly accepting gratuities. It also would prohibit entertainers from performing in enclosed areas that were not visible from all parts of the premises, and would require that stages have railings to separate performers from customers. It also would establish specific minimum lighting levels.
Would require the City to promulgate regulations governing the conduct of members of the public while they are at adult-entertainment premises, and enforcement of these standards by adult-entertainment premises licensees. It also would require adult-entertainment premises licensees to display and enforce the standard of conduct.
Would require adult-entertainment premises to permit City licensing officials and police officers to conduct announced inspections.
Would declare that adult-entertainment premises operated in violation of the law are public nuisances, and allow the city attorney to file lawsuits to abate those nuisances.
4. The effect of this referendum vote
If a majority of voters casting ballots in this referendum vote to approve Ordinance 121952, then it will become law and the changes that it would make to the City’s Municipal Code will take effect. If a majority of voters casting ballots in this referendum vote to reject the Ordinance, then it will not become law, and the Municipal Code provisions governing adult entertainment will remain as they are.