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Proposed bill would classify drag performances as 'adult business' in Arkansas

A new bill sponsored by State Sen. Gary Stubblefield aims to reclassify drag performances and restrict the areas they could legally happen around the state.

ARKANSAS, USA — (Eds. note: We have updated this article to include Democratic comment on the bill and the SB43's passage in the committee.)

A new bill sponsored by State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) aims to reclassify drag performances in Arkansas.

On Thursday, Jan. 19, the bill passed unanimously in the committee and will now head to the senate, city, county, and local affairs committee. 

The Democratic Party of Arkansas on Thursday to Senate Bill 43 progressing past the committee. 

Arkansas Democrats stand with the LGBTQ+ community and know SB43 is only the first of several planned attacks on our friends and family who are seeking only to live out their lives in peace in our state. It’s time to end these pointless, and undoubtedly, illegal distractions,” the Arkansas Democratic Party said in response. 

Senate Bill 43 is intended to classify drag performances in Arkansas as "adult-oriented business."

According to the bill, other examples of adult-oriented business include the following: 

  • adult bookstores or video stores
  • adult live entertainment
  • escort agencies
  • nude model studio
  • massage business with adult services
  • adult motion picture theater
  • adult cabaret

If passed, the bill would add drag performances to the ongoing list of "adult-oriented businesses" in Arkansas. 

SB43 also aims to restrict where an adult-oriented business would be permitted. 

The measure would prohibit the businesses from being located in the following areas: 

  • Adult-oriented businesses would be prohibited on public property.
  • If a minor (under 18) can view the business and see "what the [adult-oriented business] is offering to the public."

For the draft of the Senate Bill 43, you can click here to read more.     

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