Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation imposing a new tax on strip clubs that will be used to fund assistance to victims of sexual assault.
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Under the new law, grants would be made to provide community-based assistance to victims of sexual assault and for activities to prevent sexual assault from happening. Administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the fund will be supported through the new Live Adult Entertainment Facility Surcharge. Club operators will be required to pay a flat surcharge on their gross receipts or impose a $3 surcharge on each patron upon admission. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Quinn signed the bill, sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, on Saturday. An initiative of Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the law is designed to support sexual assault prevention efforts and aid the recovery of victims.
“Gas taxes go for road-building; gambling fees fund addiction services. This is based on the same principle,” said Hutchinson. “Let’s work towards a society that understands that violence against women is totally unacceptable. Finding a way to fund these services is critical.”
Quinn also signed a law over the weekend to set up a task dedicated to combating domestic violence and another law to allow prosecutors to use prior domestic violence offenses as evidence in first- and second-degree murder cases involving domestic violence. Earlier last week, the governor signed a new law to protect women from stalking.
“Violence against women has occurred in small towns, urban neighborhoods and college campuses," Quinn said in a statement. “These new laws will help us hold the predators accountable as well as prevent behavior which can lead to sexual assaults.”