Judge considers Omaha strip club owner’s request to block new law

Judge considers Omaha strip club owner’s request to block new law
Shane Harrington

LINCOLN — A judge has taken under advisement a request by Omaha strip club owner Shane Harrington to temporarily block new state regulation of his business.

Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong will rule later after reviewing evidence submitted Wednesday by lawyers for Harrington and the state during a court hearing.

Harrington has asked the judge to block enforcement of a new state law requiring licensing of “bottle clubs” like his until his lawsuit, filed last week, is resolved. He claims that the State Legislature, Gov. Pete Ricketts and others conspired to pass the new law, which Harrington says is unconstitutional and inspired by moral and religious objections.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office filed a request Wednesday to dismiss Harrington’s lawsuit. That motion was also taken under advisement.

Supporters of the new law argued that Harrington’s private clubs — which do not sell liquor but allow members to bring their own bottle of alcohol — were basically unregulated bars because they did not have to obtain a state liquor license. Harrington, meanwhile, said new regulations were unnecessary because his business is well-run and patrons come for adult entertainment and not for binge drinking.

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