Bill to keep kids away from ‘lewd’ performances getting considered

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Lawmakers make a move to keep kids away from performances they deem inappropriate. That could include gay pride parades and drag shows.

The bill, sponsored by Republican State Rep. Randy Fine of District 33, is under consideration and would ban performances in public places if they’re considered ‘lewd.’

Drag queens, drag shows, and pride parades could soon be deemed illegal if they’re are children around.

Callhan Soldavini with Naples Pride strongly disagrees with Republicans considering the bill titled “Protection of Children.”

“What kind of message does it send if children can’t attend a pride celebration where there is a drag performance, drag performance is a major part of the LGBTQ community,” Soldavini said.

The legislation authorizes the Department of Business and professional regulation to fine, suspend,or revoke the license of establishments that admit children to an “adult live performance,” like a drag show.

“It restricts parents from being able to choose what to do with their children and restricts free speech,” Soldavini said. “But how is it actually protecting children? In the US, the number one cause of death for children is guns, not drag queens.”

The first violation carries a $5,000 fine, while a $10,000 fine comes from the second violation.

Furthermore, anyone who “knowingly” admits a child to an adult live performance would face a first-degree misdemeanor. That is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and a year in prison.

“The fines are tremendous,” Soldavini said.

“We haven’t seen the end of these kinds of laws being proposed for sure,” Aubrey Jewett a political scientist at UCF, said.

Jewett told WINK News that he believes Republicans will keep doing it as long as they see a political advantage.

WINK News reached out to Lee and Collier council members and commissioners to find out how they feel about the proposed bill.

Ted Blankenship with Naples City Council said he supports the legislature’s efforts to help families protect their children from adult entertainment and lewd activities.

The bill would have to go through both the House and Senate floors before it is brought to DeSantis’ desk, then must receive the governor’s signature before being enacted. 

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