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South Carolina pol proposes an end to lap dances

A South Carolina legislator is proposing that strippers at clubs in the Palmetto State stand six feet from customers. Could this be the end of the lap dance?

It would be if state Rep. Scott Talley, the Spartanburg Republican sponsoring the bill, gets his way.

Talley's proposal would not only force dancers to keep their distance, it also would force strip clubs to close by midnight.

Creative Loafing sought out Talley to ask him about the reason behind the bill; he didn't return a message left at his home. But he told The State of Columbia that the bill's purpose is to "reduce the secondary effects associated with such clubs."

But aren't the people who patronize these places adults?

Adults who deserve a little bump and grind if they have the money for it?

"Are you serious?" said LaShun Watkins, a S.C. native. "I wouldn't go [anymore]. I mean, there is really no purpose for you to go to the strip club if you don't get a lap dance. You don't have to touch, but at least get a lap dance."

Said another man who declined to give his name: "What's the purpose of going to a strip club?"

The strip clubs that CL contacted were reluctant to bare their thoughts.

Emerson's of Rock Hill, a totally nude club owned by Charlotte-based MAL Entertainment, wouldn't comment on the proposed rule changes.

Calls to MAL weren't returned by press time.

The manager of The Trophy Club in Florence, S.C. also didn't call back.

Free speech and industry activists say that bills like this are just a way to shut down legitimate businesses.

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade association of adult businesses founded in 1991 to combat what they call "attacks against producers and retailers of adult products," spoke out against the proposed bill.

Diane Duke, the coalition's executive director, told The State, "Bills such as this one are based on misinformation and misconceptions. It imposes the misplaced morals of the minority onto the rest of us. Adult businesses are legal businesses held to a much higher standard."

Duke did not return an e-mail from Creative Loafing seeking further comment.

The S.C. legislature returned to session this week, leading to more discussion on the bill. On Wednesday, the proposal was sent back to the House Judiciary committee for more work, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Talley told the newspaper that sending it back to a subcommittee basically kills the legislation -- a sign of relief to strip club supporters.

"I would just go to North Carolina, no purpose in going without a lap dance," said Watkins.

"I mean, even chicks go and get lap dances ... The whole purpose of going is the lap dance, and the [strippers] you actually meet that come over and chat. And then you find out they working on, like, two degrees in college and you just be like, wow, that is crazy."

While lawmakers in the Palmetto State try to legislate what goes on in strip clubs, South Carolina ranks among the nation's worst for pay equity.

According to a study from the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, the state ranks 47th in the nation for pay equity, and women make 68 percent of what men make.

And South Carolina is sixth nationally for the number of women killed by their domestic partners, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center.

South Carolina also ranks 28th in the nation for teacher pay, according to the American Federation of Teachers. (North Carolina is 23rd, but you can still get a lap dance in the Tar Heel state.)

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