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Flagstaff strippers must now be licensed

The Associated Press

• The city also will require businesses where strippers work to get licenses.

The Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF – Those who own, run and work in Flagstaff’s skin trade now will have to obtain licenses.

The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance despite testimony from dancers and others who denied sexually oriented businesses involved drugs, sex and other crime.

The new ordinance would require managers, owners and employees of adult entertainment businesses to apply for licenses, subject to criminal background checks.

Having prior convictions for sex offenses or other criminal violations could disqualify an employee.

An employee would pay $100 for the initial license and $25 for annual renewal. Business licenses would cost $250 annually.

A number of other Arizona cities require similar licensing.

Regine Hernandez was among those opposing the ordinance.

”I believe it’s an invasion of privacy to know who I live with and what they’ve done,” the dancer said. ”I am a mother of a 4-year-old daughter. We are consenting adults trying to make a living.

”For those of you who think it’s an easy job, do you know what it’s like to take your clothes off and be ridiculed? Do you know what it’s like to apply for another job, maybe to get out of the business, and to have people look at you funny? This is a choice I make, and I’m doing nothing wrong.”

Council members agreed licensing was necessary, however.

”I think it’s an overreaction to say that the ordinance’s language means that dancers are stigmatized,” said council member Norm Wallen. ”Other than being offended by a stigma, I’m not sure what the employees are objecting to.”

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