Attention planners of outdated, hornball bachelor parties. Your days of catching mobile donkey shows could soon be over. The city of Minneapolis wants to keep strippers off party buses.
On Thursday, a City Council committee approved its wish list for Minnesota’s next legislative session. Among the cash requests and boring tax stuff, the city wants the state to prohibit party buses from allowing “nude adult entertainment” or underage drinking on their vessels of debauchery. The request, pushed by the city attorney, also calls for tighter restrictions on underage drinking tied into the bus companies’ license.
“It’s giving a heads-up to the operators that they should take responsibility of what goes on in their vehicles,” says Susan Segal, Minneapolis city attorney.
Currently, state motor coach licenses, which go through the Minnesota Department of Transportation, don’t have specific rules about what can or can’t go down on buses, she says. By specifying these no-nos in the licenses, the state will have more tools to crack down on owners who might not care what happens — only a small percentage of the industry, Segal insists.
Shaan Aziz, owner of Accent Town Car & Limo Fleet, is cool with a banning strippers and underage drinking. The St. Paul business owner has been in the party bus game for nearly 20 years and says he’s not aware of party-bus stripping being a thing — though some companies have buses outfitted with stripper poles.
“I have never seen or never heard anybody stripping,” he says. “We don’t have anybody who’s doing that.”
Aziz makes passengers sign a contract stating that if anyone aboard is under 21, it shall be a dry ride for all. Other operations have similar policies aimed at preventing the youngins from drinking, though Segal notes problems still occur.
Regardless, the impetus for the move wasn’t necessarily to prevent legal, consenting lap dances. The issue fell on Segal’s radar after a University of Minnesota study suggested that party buses can be a place where sex trafficking can occur. The study looked at several years’ worth of police reports on child sexual assault cases. Although there was no specific data on the prevalence of party-bus pimping, the authors wrote that pimps “approach men at bars, talk to bachelor parties and affiliate with party bus companies” to gain new business.
Segal also cites a recent Washington County case where a man is accused of pimping a then 17-year-old girl. Under the direction of St. Paul’s Damon DiMartino, the Forest Lake girl allegedly began stripping on party buses before performing sex acts for money and distributing drugs for DiMartino.
“Our thought is that a party bus is no more than a school bus painted in day-glo paint and rented out,” Segal says. “So if you’ve got an operator who’s like ‘Yeah, you can rent my bus, this is the fee. Do whatever you want to on it, I’m not responsible’ … then I think that kind of activity can occur.”
Over the next few months city staffers will meet with industry players in hopes of drafting a bill by the 2016 session.