Washington Governor Jay Inslee Signs Strippers’ Bill of Rights Into Law — Here's What You Need to Know

By Trisha Andrada

Mar 26, 2024 08:30 AM EDT

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the strippers' bill of rights into law on Monday. According to the Associated Press, the measure creates safer working conditions for those in the adult entertainment industry and allows the clubs to sell alcohol.

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña of Seattle, who sponsored the bill, pointed out that strippers are also workers, like any other employees, who should be given the same rights and protections.

"If they are employed at a legal establishment in Washington, they deserve the safeguards that every worker is entitled to, including protection from exploitation, trafficking, and abuse," she said in a press release.

Supporters join strippers for a rally outside the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar on August 19, 2022 in North Hollywood, California.
(Photo : FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images)

Strippers' Bill of Rights Signed: What Will Change?

According to the new law, business establishments should train their employees to prevent sexual harassment, conflict de-escalation, identify and report human trafficking, and first aid. 

Security workers must also be on-site, with keypad codes in dressing rooms and panic buttons in places where entertainers may be alone with clients.

The majority of the state's dancers work as independent contractors, collecting payment from customers and then being required to pay club fees every shift. 

Under the new law, owners can only collect a maximum of $150 per dancer, or 30% of the amount dancers make during their shift, whichever is lower. Late fees and other charges associated with unpaid balances are also prohibited.

The state's Department of Labor and Industries will create new regulations and recommendations by the beginning of next year to implement the modifications to workplace safety requirements outlined in the bill.

Businesses providing adult entertainment may now apply for liquor licenses. Compliance with the new safety regulations is a legal requirement for liquor licenses.

Read Also: White House Slams Funding Bill Provision That Prohibits US Embassies From Displaying Pride Flags

Strippers Are Workers Advocates for the Regulations, Alcohol Sales

The state's dancer-led group, the Strippers Are Workers, has been pushing for these laws and the sale of alcoholic beverages since 2018.

Madison Zack-Wu, the organization's campaign manager, said the group's actions started because there were significant regulatory loopholes regarding the 11 adult entertainment clubs in the state. However, others were worried that some clubs might close if the protections were implemented without adding revenue from alcohol sales.

"We don't want clubs to shut down now or in the future because that will just put everyone out of work and then put them in even riskier or more dire situations," Zack-Wu noted.

Brian Smith, spokesperson of the State Liquor and Cannabis Board, told The News Tribune that it could take more than a year to get the clubs' liquor license process in place. 

Read More: US Sees A Strong Job Market As Application to Unemployment Benefits Drops

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