By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Idaho House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill in a 48-21 vote that is intended to prohibit children from attending drag shows in Idaho.
HB 265, sponsored by Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, requires performers and promoters to restrict minors’ access if a performance involves sexual conduct. It also prohibits any public venue or facility from being used or leased for such shows.
The legislation defines sexual conduct as “Acts, whether actual or simulated, of masturbation, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a person’s unclothed genitals or pubic area; Sexually explicit descriptions of acts…; or Sexually provocative dances or gestures performed with accessories that exaggerate male or female primary or secondary sexual characteristics.”
The bill also allows a parent or guardian of the child to sue any person who knowingly participated in sexually explicit conduct “patently offensive to an average person applying contemporary community standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors.”
The lawsuit could ask for $10,000 per offense, but there could also be monetary damages for any psychological or emotional damage the plaintiff claims.
Crane declined to answer questions from fellow legislators on the bill.
Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, opposed the bill saying the term “sexually explicit” could vary widely depending on who you could ask. Rubel noted it could cover everything from cheerleading to some musicals to some musicians’ dancing.
“It’s highly, highly subjective. If you ask 50 people ‘What is sexually provocative?” I think you will get 50 different answers,” Rubel said.
Rubel said the legal definitions were flawed.
“Essentially this section covers an almost infinite array of First Amendment protected, mainstream activity,” Rubel said. “We are basically creating something that could prohibit the entire world of preforming arts.”
Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, stood in support of the bill.
“This is a ‘protect the children from perverts’ bill,” Skaug said to the House.
Crane noted in closing that drag queens who testified in committee agreed that children should not attend explicit shows.
Reps. Matt Bundy, R-Mountain Home; Rick Cheatum, R-Pocatello; Dan Garner, R-Clifton; Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls; Greg Lanting, R-Twin Falls; Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello; Lori McCann, R-Lewiston; Stephanie Mickelsen, R-Idaho Falls; Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome; and James Petzke, R-Meridian sided with the Democrats in voting no.
The bill now heads to the Senate.