Shortly after 9PM on Monday, April 9th, state senators approved an amendment from Senator Thibodeau to LB1120 that closes the “bottle club loophole” by strengthening state law to regulate “bottle clubs” under the Liquor Control Act.
For years, bottle clubs have been completely unregulated. These clubs have allowed minors in but prohibited law enforcement from entering. They have featured fully nude dancing, and patrons are even allowed to make physical contact with the dancers in sexually intimate areas. These policies raise serious concerns about sexual exploitation and sex trafficking that Nebraska lawmakers will not ignore.
Nate Grasz, Policy Director of Nebraska Family Alliance, said:
Senator Thibodeau, Senator Pansing-Brooks, and Senator Geist fought for this reform amidst threats and intimidation from bottle clubs. We applaud their efforts to protect the integrity of our state laws and vulnerable women at risk of sexual exploitation.
For too long, clubs have taken advantage of the bottle club loophole to avoid common sense regulations of similar businesses such as nightclubs and bars. Requiring bottle clubs to obtain a liquor license will ensure these clubs are accountable to the state, meet health and safety standards, and that they aren’t profiting from the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women.
With the advancement of Senator Thibodeau’s amendment to LB1120, bottle clubs will be required to obtain a liquor license. This change will ensure these clubs are accountable to the state under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act and law enforcement will have the proper authority to ensure these laws are followed.
LB 1120 has advanced to final reading and senators will vote once more on the measure before it is sent to Governor Ricketts’ desk.