Pensacola is considering doing away with a long-standing regulation that requires adult entertainment workers to get a permit from the Pensacola Police Department to work at venues in city limits.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson told the City Council on Monday that after discussion with police officials, his administration agreed the regulation was not serving any purpose.
“We certainly don’t do this to anybody else in a variety of other (industries), and the police were happy to move out of this,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s administration is proposing to repeal the requirement for adult entertainment workers to get a permit to work in the city, but to keep all of the other regulations dealing with adult entertainment venues.
The city attempted to ban topless dancing in 1986, and the ban was thrown out in court. In 1998, it hired a consultant to write regulations aimed at limiting the growth of adult dancing venues after a club was opened near a residential area that year.
The regulations were adopted in 1999. The requirement for adult entertainment workers to register with the city existed previously and was incorporated into the 1999 regulations, according to News Journal archives.
The regulation requires adult entertainment workers — including dancers, servers and bartenders at adult entertainment venues — to pay a $30 fee and submit their address, gender, photograph and fingerprints to the city. The permit is valid for one year, and costs $30 to renew.
Robinson pointed out that in the internet age, creating a public record of adult entertainment workers with addresses and photos creates a risk for the workers.
“We think that this has outlived its time,” Robinson said.
Councilwoman Sherri Myers said she wanted to know why the ordinance was passed in the first place and if its repeal would create a risk for young women who are victims of sex trafficking.
Robinson said both PPD Chief Eric Randall and Deputy Chief Kevin Christman told him the permit regulation does not help police to catch sex trafficking crimes.
“Both of them confirmed to me, because I sat there, point blank with them and I said, ‘Is this opening us up to any additional issues of abuse or sex trafficking?'” Robinson said. “And they said no, they said, and they pointed to actual (cases) … and said this (regulation) had nothing to do with it. We found that through other ways.”
The council will take the first of two required votes on the ordinance at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday
Jim Little can be reached at email@example.com and 850-208-9827.