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'Drag show' bills passed by Arizona Senate after changes

Republicans say the bills are intended to protect Arizona's children from sexually-explicit performances. Democrats say the bills are written too broadly.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate passed two bills on Thursday that were originally aimed at regulating drag show performances, a topic that's become increasingly fraught in the culture wars between Republicans and Democrats. 

Both pieces of legislation had amendments made that removed or modified references to drag shows by the time they were brought to the Senate floor for a full vote this week. 

Senate Bill 1028 prohibits a person or business from engaging in an "adult cabaret performance" on public property or a location where the show could be seen by a juvenile.

An adult cabaret performance is defined as "a sexually explicit performance in a location other than an adult cabaret."

Though SB 1028 had removed the term "drag shows" from its original language, the bill's Republican sponsor said on the Senate floor Thursday that the legislation's intent is to regulate "sexually-explicit drag shows."  

Senate Bill 1030 subjects a "sexually explicit performance" to the same restrictions that are given to any other adult-oriented business. State law currently prohibits an adult business from being located less than a quarter mile from a school or church.

SB 1030 had initially applied the restrictions to "sexually explicit drag shows" before an amendment was made to change the term to "sexually explicit performances."

Both bills passed out of the Senate in a vote of 16-12 with no support from Democrats. 

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