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Lawmakers Send Governor Ban on Billboards for Sex Shops

May 6, 2004
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Legislation banning sexually explicit billboards from state highways has legislative approval and is on its way to the governor.

Missy Shelton reports.

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Supporters say there are too many billboards along Missouri roads advertising sex shops and strip shows.

Democratic Representative Trent Skaggs says the state should intervene because it's not like other media...He says it's nearly impossible to ignore billboards.

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But opponents of the bill say banning billboards advertising adult businesses starts down a slippery slope.

Republican Representative Todd Smith says if lawmakers ban sexually explicit billboards, what's to stop them from banning advertisments for other businesses they don't like.

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And Democratic Representative Terry Young says the proposal violates the right to free speech.

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Given what's on the billboards, Republican Representative Cynthia Davis says she can't believe any female lawmakers would oppose a ban on sexually explicit billboards.

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Davis says as long as Missouri allows these billboards, tourism will suffer.

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Bill supporters say some billboards around the state feature racy images of scantily-clad females.

But Kansas City Democrat Melba Curls says she's not seen anything too suggestive on billboards.

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The bill would allow adult businesses to have two signs on their property but the size and content would be limited.

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