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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 20, 2019 03:43 PM
From: Representative Kurt A. Masser
To: All House members
Subject: Repealing Act 120 of 1919, the City Dance Hall License Law
Please join me as a cosponsor of legislation to repeal Act 120 of 1919, the City Dance Hall License Law. The act is obsolete, outdated, and ripe for repeal.

In 1919, Pennsylvania joined a number of states in enacting a statute to regulate dance halls and public dances, which were the subject of media reports of crime and immorality.

Under the act, a public dance or public ball could not be held in a city of the first or second class without a permit from the mayor and paying a fee of $1 for each event. Further, the act provides for inspection of the public dance hall or ball room by police. Licenses under the act are revocable if there is found to be any disorderly or immoral conduct on the premises, or upon proof that the dance hall, ball room or academy was frequented by disorderly or immoral persons.

Now 100 years after its enactment, the concerns reflected in the act are anachronistic. Further, none of the cities covered by the act rely on its provisions for occupancy or event permitting purposes.

To quote Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon in his role as Ren McCormack in 1984’s Footloose:

“From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. …And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of, of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2044