, in which she discussed her bill to fund rape crisis centers with a $3 admission surcharge at strip clubs that serve alcohol.
Simon holds a low-profile office. In Illinois, the lieutenant governor’s job is to sit around and wait for the governor to get indicted. Two recent officeholders, Dave O’Neil and Bob Kustra quit because they couldn’t find anything to do, and because they didn’t foresee any scandals that would allow them to cross “lieutenant” off their business cards, as Pat Quinn did after he took over for Rod Blagojevich. (Remember O’Neil and Kustra? If you do, you need a more interesting hobby than following Illinois politics.)
This bill is Simon most high-profile act since taking office. She conceived the bill, she’s lobbied for it, and she testified before the Senate Public Health Committee on Wednesday.
“Sexually-orientated businesses contribute to objectifying and exploiting women,” Simon told the senators. “There’s been a strong, scientific recognition that when you associate those industries with alcohol, that there's a substantial effect there, an increase in crime, particularly sexual assault.”
Simon also negotiated with strip club owners to end their opposition. Originally, her bill called for a $5 surcharge. The current bill requires a $3 surcharge, or a sliding annual payment to the state, depending on the club’s income, from $5,000 for a club bringing in less than $500,000 a year, to $25,000 for a $2 million club.
Opposition to the bill may now come from the liquor industry, which doesn’t like implication that its product causes sexual assaults. And liquor distributors have much more influence in Springfield than strip club owners.
Whether this bill passes or not, it’s good to see a lieutenant governor trying to make something out of an office that for too long has been nothing.
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