New Ohio Bill to Outlaw Child Drag Shows for 'Endangering Children'
The House Bill 180 was introduced by state Rep. Tim Schaffer earlier this month
Ohio state lawmakers have been prompted to introduce legislation child drag shows following a nine-year-old’s performance in a bar, according to reports.
The new legislation aims to ban such activity for “endangering children.”
The House Bill 180 was introduced by state Rep. Tim Schaffer earlier this month after the outrage of a video of Jacob Measley of suburban Toled accepting cash for performing at a drag charity function at a Fairfield County bar last year.
Lancaster Republican, Schaffer, said that “while there is a strong consensus in the community that this situation is a very bad example of parenting,” Ohio currently has no laws preventing minors from appearing at drag shows.
Adults who stage performances “in which a child simulates sexual activity” or "appeals to prurient interest” could be charged with the first-degree misdemeanor under the new bill.
The penalty could see offenders with six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Additionally, any performances that take place at an establishment that serves alcohol could see their liquor license revoked by state officials.
“Given our heightened focus on human trafficking and the role money plays in trafficking children, I knew I had to take action to make sure this activity does not occur again,” Schaffer stated.
“We can do better to protect innocent children, and we must do better.”
But Jacob’s mother, Jerri Measley insists her child's drag appearances are not 'sexual' in nature, telling Toledo Blade that critics have “grossly warped” the purpose of Jacob’s performances.
Jacob, inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race, began performing in drag three years ago, according to the Blade
Jerri Measley told the Blade that her child performances are monitored by her and her husband.
Lancaster Mayor David Schaeffer stated that Jacob “was fully clothed and was not touched by anyone in the audience" while performing.
Owners of the bar hosting the performance, JD Hendersons, have condemned Jacob’s appearance and prevented the show’s performers from coming there again.
HB 180 has been referred to the House Commerce and Labor Committee, though no hearings have yet been held on the bill.