Simotas’s Community Full Disclosure Act Signed into Law by Governor Cuomo

New law mandates greater transparency for adult venues
August 1, 2013

Albany, N.Y. – In a victory for community access to information and greater transparency, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas’ legislation, the Community Full Disclosure Act (CFDA), has been signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and takes effect in 60 days. Simotas’s law improves the quality of information accessible to local community boards and municipalities in determining what types of establishments are appropriate for their communities.

“Communities around the state will now have better information to make the right decisions for their neighborhoods,” Simotas said. “This legislation, at its core, is wholly aimed at expanding the voice of citizens. It should be absolutely clear from a liquor license application what kind of business an applicant intends to conduct in our community.” Simotas recently led two successful efforts to prevent Astoria ‘bikini bars’ Racks, and Queen of Hearts from obtaining a liquor license based on incomplete information in their applications, highlighting the need for additional transparency in the licensing process.

An omission in the liquor license application and renewal form prevented the local Community Board from discovering the businesses’ intention to offer pole- and lap- dances from women in their underwear or bikinis. Before Simotas’s law takes effect, the only detail an owner was obligated to provide about adult entertainment is whether employees will be appearing topless. The CFDA rectifies these oversights and closes the loophole that allows adult businesses to operate without well-informed input from the Community Board or community residents.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our children and neighborhoods from businesses that promote adult-oriented entertainment, which negatively impacts their quality of life,” said Senator George Maziarz, the Senate sponsor of the legislation. “This bill requires transparency and provides notice to the residents when these types of businesses attempt to open in their community. I was surprised to learn of the existence of this loophole for adult businesses and I am glad that the Governor acted to close it.”

“On behalf of communities across New York, I am proud to see this bill become law,” Simotas said. “Transparency is so essential in making sure our neighborhoods reflect the character and priorities of their residents.”