Kentucky Senate passes bill limiting drag shows, heads to House

Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 10, 2023

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A bill that would ban drag shows in a location where kids could see has passed the Kentucky Senate.

Senate Bill 115 would ban "sexually explicit adult performances" from taking place in "publicly-funded spaces or privately-owned public accommodations where children may be present." Locations include but are not limited to schools, public libraries, public parks, restaurants, or entertainment venues.

Performers would be subject to a charge of a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and a class D felony for the third offense. Businesses that host adult performances where minors under 18 are present will be subject to:

  • Suspension or revocation of alcohol license by the Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
  • Suspension or revocation of business license or certificate of occupancy.
  • Denial or refusal to renew a business license or certificate of occupancy.
  • Any other appropriate penalty based on the degree of violation or offense.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, says this bill isn't about restricting adult performances to adults and says this bill is not hateful. She argues it is about protecting kids.

"There is a destructive culture permeating our society and stealing the innocence of our children," Tichenor said. "I wrote this bill to protect them from undue exposure to events and performance content their brains are not scientifically ready to process or understand."

Several Democrats have spoken against the bill. They bring up first amendment issues with this bill, arguing that a person's right to dress in drag is protected. They also argue that this bill seems to be more about targeting the LGBTQ community than protecting kids

The bill heads to the Kentucky House for consideration.