License proposed for barkers, strippers Workers would have to be at least 18

April 08, 1997|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,SUN STAFF

Nightclub dancers in Baltimore may soon have to get a license to strip.

In another attempt to crack down on adult entertainment, the administration of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke wants strip-tease dancers, bartenders and barkers to be licensed to work in lounges on The Block and elsewhere in the city.

The proposal, introduced in the City Council last night, would require employees of show bars to pay a fee for an annual license that would be issued by the housing department.

To get the city's permission to work, a dancer, barker or bartender would have to be at least 18 years old. The bill, if approved, would allow the city to suspend or revoke the license if an employee is convicted of drug use, prostitution or related criminal offenses.

The legislation reflects a renewed push by officials to regulate and restrict strip parlors.

In 1994, the city tried to limit the bars' hours of operation and to put barkers out of work by prohibiting "any attempt to urge, invite or entice patrons to enter" them. But the owners of clubs on The Block, the famous red-light district that has been squeezed by downtown commercial development, challenged many of the restrictions and won a settlement.

Several strip clubs have come under fire in recent months, including one in West Baltimore that had graphic nude dancing and 10 on The Block that were cited after a 17-year-old woman alleged to police that she had danced in them.

In other business last night, the council introduced legislation to repeal a 50-year-old ban on clubs from offering less sensational late-night entertainment.

The so-called "milk-bar" law prohibits restaurants from staying open past 2 a.m. if they serve food and nonalcoholic drinks while having singers or dancers.

After two college students were fatally shot outside Volcano's, a popular East Baltimore nightclub, the city closed it and several other nightclubs. City officials used the "milk-bar" law to close at least one establishment that had dancing of the clothed variety, said Bill Henry, an aide to Council President Lawrence A. Bell III.

Pub Date: 4/08/97

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