Marc Fisher: Another Fight For Unpopular Human Rights (The Washington Post) 01/23/01
GLAA to Council and Mayor: Don't Give In to Puritanical Hysteria (The Washington Post) 01/13/01
ABC reform bill becomes law
On Thursday, May 3, 2001, Bill 13-449, "D.C. Code Enactment and Related Amendments Act of 2000," became law. Now it is known as Act 13-603.
Our involvement centered on one small provision of the much larger bill: repeal of the moratorium on new nude dancing licenses. Existing clubs with nude dancing licenses will now be able to sell or transfer their licenses, relocate within the same commercial zoning area or move to the downtown area.
Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, who worked with GLAA and other Councilmembers, sponsored the ABC Reform bill to preserve nude dancing licenses. Ambrose deserves high praise for guiding the overall bill through the Council and for standing up to pressure from moralists opposed to nude dancing.
GLAA has been involved over the past two years in hearings and community meetings designed to produce a strong bill with maximum community input. We felt that the bill passed in December was very good, although we accepted a number of compromises.
Neither the demagoguery of Councilmember Harold Brazil nor the blatant misrepresentations by some elements of the press should have been allowed to force a reconsideration of the bill in January. Nonetheless, the amendments to the bill passed by the Council on January 23, 2001 were accepted by GLAA to win passage of the bill, although we remain committed to a repeal of the moratorium on new licenses. Without this law, the existing clubs would eventually have been eliminated through attrition, business failure, and redevelopment.
The amendments clarify the existing moratorium so that grandfathered clubs may move or transfer their licenses. These amendments passed 11-2 and the bill itself was passed unanimously and was signed by Mayor Williams.
The DC Control Board and the US Congress did not take any action on the bill, allowing it to become law.
In addition to Councilmember Ambrose, Councilmembers Jack Evans, David Catania, Jim Graham, Carol Schwartz, and then-Councilmember Charlene Drew Jarvis were important in our efforts to preserve nude dancing as a component of a diverse nightlife in DC.
- Bob Summersgill, GLAA President