Will the Maryland Senate ban underage people from Baltimore clubs?
No, in a word. In the past week, some bar owners have written with alarm about a Senate bill (#844) that would ostensibly ban people under 21 from bars and clubs. Thursday morning the Examiner had an editorial about it.
Well, it turns out the language in the bill contained a typo. The bill would ban underage people from attending adult entertainment venues, not live entertainment venues. Reporter Chris Kaltenbach has more:
Despite appearances to the contrary, state senators from Baltimore city are not looking to keep people under 21 from seeing their favorite bands live. They just want to keep them from seeing naked women.
A senate bill introduced last month, primarily designed to ensure clubs with liquor licenses have a police-approved security plan in place, had some club owners crying foul earlier this week. Under wording that was still in place this morning, clubs with liquor licenses – and this would have included The 8x10, Rams Head Live, Ottobar and others – would have been prohibited from allowing anyone under 21 inside.
No more all-ages shows, no more hands being stamped at the door to separate those old enough to drink from those who aren’t, no more bands with members younger than 21 even playing inside a club that serves liquor.
“That’s huge,” a shocked 8x10 co-owner Brian Shupe said when told of the bill. “This bill will definitely put me out of business.”
Not to worry, assures Sen. Joan Carter Conway, the bill’s main sponsor. The intent of that portion of the bill is to prevent people under 21 from going into strip bars, not music clubs. The wording, she promised, would be changed before the bill comes to a vote.
“The intent of the bill is adult entertainment,” Conway told The Sun’s Annie Linskey. “They (strip club owners) don’t want the kids to be in there. Patrons would have to be over 21.”
But what about all those 19-year-olds who are now allowed to check out the scene on The Block, but wouldn’t if the bill passes?
“They can wait until they are 21,” Conway said.
Photo: Band Fools and Horses performing at The 8X10 in 2008 (Courtney Block/Block Design & Photography)