Published January 27, 2023

Legislators Address Drag Shows

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
The North Dakota State House passed a bill Thursday on cabaret performances, including drag shows. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
The North Dakota State House passed a bill Thursday on cabaret performances, including drag shows. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Bill Passes North Dakota House 


BISMARCK – The North Dakota State House passed Thursday restrictions on cabaret performances, which includes drag shows. 

House Bill 1333 prohibits adult cabaret performances on public property and in the line of vision of a minor. The bill creates a class A misdemeanor for a first offense and class C felony for a second. 

“We are faced with an opportunity to say no, not under our leadership,” said Rep. Lori VanWinkle, R-Dis. 3, Minot and carrier of the bill. “Or say yes, I see the need for our state and nation to have more perversity placed before them even when they don’t have an ability to resist it, because unfortunately the adults in their lives will put themselves and their lewd behavior ahead of protecting their children. There is an agenda in these attempts to put this material before our precious and most innocent among us.” 

House Minority Leader Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Dis. 44, Fargo, asked VanWinkle if there were not already laws on the books that deal with nudity and public displays of prurient interest, to which she responded yes, and the bill expands upon it. 

“We already have laws in place that protect people in their own interest,” Boschee continued. “As the bill carrier alluded to, supposedly some of us are perverts and are not interested in the safety of children, when in fact I think it’s the parent who has the best interest of their children in mind. I would hope that we would leave this up to parents. It has been said in public discourse what this is really going after, and this is going after certain people who live in our state. We already have laws that restrict where people can perform with nudity or without nudity, and so this further expansion is nothing more than continuing to police morality, as it was stated by the bill carrier, to tell parents and other North Dakotans what they can and can’t do.” 

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brandon Prichard, R-Dis. 8, Bismarck, said this bill is a response to an event in Bismarck last June where he said young children attended an adult cabaret performance and threw money at the performer. 

“I believe that that should be shut down,” said Prichard. “I believe it was already in our obscenity code, that that was already outlawed. I was surprised to learn, after speaking to the state’s attorney in Burleigh County, that they would not push any charges.” 

The bill passed with a vote of 79 to 13 and will be sent to the Senate for further consideration after the crossover date of February 24. 

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