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Illinois Senate Bill proposes strip club tax 

WREX TV Rockford
March 9, 2012
By Matt Groves

A cover charge at strip clubs could help fund programs for sex abuse victims.

Senate Bill 3348 is based off a similar bill in Texas. It aims to add a five dollar entry fee to all live adult entertainment facilities in the state that sell or allow alcohol on site.

Cases involving battered women hold a special significance to Lieutenant Governor Simon, who came to the Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling to show support for the bill.

She cites country-wide studies showing correlations between strip clubs serving alcohol and crime as a determiner for her advocacy.

"I've been a domestic battery prosecutor before. I've advocated for women who are victims of violence. I always have an open ear for new ideas that will help out," says Simon.

Revenue generated from the $5 fee would be distributed to community-based sexual assault prevention and response organizations.

According to Simon these organizations have seen dramatic cuts in funding in the past five years.

"It seems to have worked economically for both funding services in Texas and not putting people out of business in Texas. Its lower than a proposed ten dollar fee that California is considering right now."

The Texas bill passed legislation last year. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge of the decision the door was opened for other cities and states to jump on board.

"Certainly not everyone who goes to a strip club is a criminal. But we know that there are associations there, there are connections to be made. This puts a little responsibility on the folks who profit from this industry."

A spokesman for Rockford's Bigfoot Lounge declined an on-camera interview but did say his business currently has no at-the-door charge and a fee would most likely drive away patrons.