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Legislator plans to request special session to address sexually oriented businesses

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CHOUTEAU, Okla. –  A Chouteau legislator plans to request a special session to address adult and sexually oriented businesses.

State Representative Ben Sherrer announced his intention to ask state leaders to call the Legislature into special session to address adult-oriented businesses in unincorporated rural areas.

Sherrer says he plans to send his request to Governor Mary Fallin, House Speaker Jeff Hickman, and Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, who have the authority to call a special session before the next regular legislative session convenes in February 2015.

According to Mike Ray, media director for the Democratic Caucus, Sherrer said his request has been prompted by rumors of an all-nude strip club to be located in the heart of one of Oklahoma’s largest Amish communities located between Inola and Chouteau, in Mayes County.

“My sources have been unable to confirm whether the proposed location will become an all-nude club,” Sherrer said. “But whether it does or not, this topic needs to be addressed to give unincorporated rural areas that are not subject to countywide or municipal zoning some form of protection.”

Sherrer says land records reflect property was purchased last year by an out-of-state man who owns three other such clubs in other states.

According to a press release, the legislation Sherrer proposes to introduce in the special session would create a buffer zone of 1,000 feet between any adult sexually oriented business and the property line of any property actually devoted to residential or church use.  In addition, there would be specific definitions for different types of adult sexually oriented business to avoid ambiguity and loopholes in the law.

Sherrer says he has been contacted by “small and large landowners, farmers and ranchers, members of the Amish church and community and members of denomination in Mayes County who are united in opposition to adult sexually oriented businesses in rural areas.”

Sherrer said, “I understand that my rural constituency does not want the burden of extensive zoning requirements and the accompanying government bureaucracy. That’s why it would be appropriate to create a statewide remedy to protect values reflected in rural Oklahoma.”

In the event a special session is not called, Sherrer indicated he will file a measure in the 2015 legislative session to address the matter.

Legislative officials estimate the cost of a special session at $20,319 per day for the 101-member House of Representatives.