No, we're not talking about the North and South Poles. A bill that would license exotic dancers has been bumping and grinding its way ever so slowly through the legislative hopper in Albany - but the "sin-tax" in the measure may leave legislators poles apart.
The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, would require strippers to register with the state and get special permits to perform in clubs. And real names - not Candy, Lolita or Miss Lollipop - would be required.
Dancers who can't whip out a permit - it's unclear if they would have to carry them, somewhere, at all times - would face fines of up to $20 for a first-time violation and $50 for further violations. Clubs that employ them would face even stiffer fines.
Ortiz (D-Sunset Park) introduced the bill in May, and it's been languishing ever since in the Assembly Economic Development Committee. Ortiz said he expects committee Chairman Robin Schimminger (D-Erie, Niagara) to schedule hearings sometime in February.
"We're now giving more detailed information to committee members to, if you will, get them more educated," said Ortiz, who, yes, has checked out such clubs "to see what my constituents were complaining about."
Now that's true constituent service. Taking the time from his busy schedule doing the people's work, Assemblyman Ortiz is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to address his constituent's concerns. Those long, hard hours spent in clubs certainly goes above and beyond the call of duty.
It's refreshing to know that our Democratic Assembly has their priorities in order. Never mind that state government has come to a virtual standstill over the past year due to the plague of idiocy that has invaded the governor's mansion. Never mind that the last four times the Senate has met, the Assembly hasn't even been in Albany.
Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari counters, "It really makes no sense to return to Albany, spend the time and the money to get here, when there are no parameters of an agreement on the major issues."
That's great, Eliot, things have really improved under your watch. Way to bring consensus and cooperation to Albany. In the meantime, let's stay focused on our priorities - licensing pole dancers is right up there with job creation and tax reduction.