Is Stripper Registry Bill a Trojan Horse Meant to Shut Down Nudie Bars?

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I don’t like strip clubs.

The first time I went to a nudie bar, I felt like I was watching pornography with a room full of people I would never even want to hug, let alone fire up RedTube.com next to. I decided pretty quickly that my first time would be my last time.

So I can understand why state Rep. Matt Baker might have the impulse to shut down strip clubs. The Tioga County Republican has introduced a bill that would require strippers to provide tons of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. He says the legislation is singularly aimed at fighting the horrors of sex trafficking, but truth be told, it also appears to be designed to wreak havoc on the strip club industry.

And the thing is, you can’t just put a place out of business simply because you find it distasteful. I don’t personally like strip clubs (or casinos or pet boutiques) either, but I think they should be allowed to exist. Read more »

Report: Court Could Remove Kane From Office

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has vowed to stay in her job even if — as is expected — she is indicted on charges she leaked secret grand jury information. But a new report suggests that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could choose to remove her from office if charges are filed.

TribLive’s Brad Bumsted reports: “A little-known emergency valve in rules governing attorney conduct would allow the state Supreme Court, upon request, to suspend the license of a lawyer suspected of ‘egregious conduct.’ That could remove Kane from office because the state constitution says the attorney general must be an attorney, said Ernie Preate, former attorney general from Kane’s hometown of Scranton.” Read more »

Lawmaker Who Wants a Stripper Registry Tells His Story

Rep. Matt Baker | Photo courtesy of Baker's office

Rep. Matt Baker | Photo courtesy of Baker’s office

State Rep. Matt Baker, a Republican who represents the county home to the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania,” wants to do something that is awfully Big Government.

He is proposing legislation that would require strippers and other workers in the adult entertainment industry to provide a boatload of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. The bill would also bar alcohol from strip clubs and force customers and nude dancers to remain six feet apart at all times.

Baker, as well as a Christian group known as the Pennsylvania Family Institute that helped draft the legislation, claim that their goal is to prevent sex trafficking, a/k/a adults and children being coerced or forced into prostitution and other sex work against their will. How the heck would a state registry do that? Is this just a Trojan horse intended to put strip clubs out of business? And why on Earth, as the Philadelphia City Paper reported, did Baker not consult the strippers he purports to care about so deeply before introducing the bill?

We, like several dancers, the American Civil Liberties Union and advocates for sex workers, had a lot of questions. So we put them to Baker. He responded to all of them (well, except one) via email.
Read more »

Harrisburg Mayor Calls for Closure of National Civil War Museum

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse is making headlines today after he called for the closure of the city’s National Civil War Museum. Papenfuse called it a “monument to corruption” following news that criminal charges were filed against former Mayor Stephen Reed, a driving force in establishing the museum. More from timesunion.com:

Read more »

GOP Will Try Again to Let NRA Sue Pennsylvania Cities

Background | Shutterstock.com

Background | Shutterstock.com

If at first you don’t succeed…

A Republican legislator is trying to revive a bill that would allow third-party organizations like to NRA to sue Pennsylvania towns and cities for having overly restrictive gun laws. An earlier version of the law was struck down in March by a Commonwealth Court panel that said the legislature had passed the bill in an unconstitutionally opaque fashion.

“The court’s decision was based merely on technical procedural rules, meaning that the substance of the legislation itself was never called into question,” Rep. Mark Keller, a Republican from South Central Pennsylvania, said in a memorandum to colleagues. Read more »

Report: State Sells Driver Information to Private Companies

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Pennsylvania made $41 million in June from the sale of driver’s license information to private third parties, TribLive reports.

“The records include gender, license class, expiration date and up to 10 years of traffic violations, all of which is available to insurance companies, credit businesses and employers at a price of $9 per driver,” reports Melissa Daniels. Read more »

Kane: Won’t Resign if Charged

Kathleen Kane. AP | Bradley C. Bower

Kathleen Kane. AP | Bradley C. Bower

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Tuesday she will not resign if criminal charges are brought against her over accusations she leaked secret grand jury testimony.

“For the past 13 months, I have been carrying on,” Kane said. “I will handle it and continue to do my job.” Read more »

Report: Katie McGinty Close to Deciding on Senate Challenge to Pat Toomey

Katie McGinty

The wooing of Katie McGinty has apparently become quite serious.

When last we checked in, McGinty — Gov. Tom Wolf‘s chief of staff — had been approached about running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Pat Toomey by Democratic leaders desperate not to have Joe Sestak represent the party on the ballot next fall. But Ed Rendell pooh-poohed the whole thing and that, we figured, was probably that.

Think again.

“This weekend the DSCC held a retreat at Martha’s Vineyard. Dozens of Senators and Senate candidates were there. So was Katie McGinty,” PoliticsPA reports. “PoliticsPA has learned she flew to the event on a chartered flight with over fifteen Senators. We were also able to confirm with McGinty’s top political strategist Mike Mikus that she left on Friday night and returned Sunday.”

She’s apparently generating enthusiasm that Sestak, who lost to Toomey in 2010, hasn’t been able to muster.  Read more »

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