In the municipal code of Henry County there
are regulations on what the county defines as
dance halls. These regulations say that a
business is not to allow dancing unless
authorized by the county and the owners of the
business must pay a fine if dancing is allowed
without such authorization. These regulations,
along with other similar ones, have caused some
debate to arise within the community over the
issue. This page is provided to discuss the
libertarian perspective on government regulation
and to allow an area for visitors to add their
input on the issue.
The Libertarian Party on
Simply put, the Libertarian Party holds to the
idea that less government regulation, and
sometimes none at all, is better government
regulation. A keystone principle of libertarian
belief is that people should be left alone unless
their actions violate the rights of others.
Because of this belief, government regulations
are discouraged since such regulations could
limit a person's individual choices, especially
in what they do with their own property. The
Libertarian Party believes very strongly in the
right of the people to make decisions for
themselves and excesive regulation could in fact
hinder a person's freedom of choice. With regard
to regulating dance halls, the libertarian belief
would be that people have the right to dance and
to allow others to dance on their own property.
Since regulating where people can and cannot
dance would place controls on what people do
peaceably with themselves and their own property,
such regulation should not exist. You
can learn more about the libertarian perspective
on government regulation at Regulation
and Property Rights.
From the Henry
County Code of Ordinance
In order for you to make your own
conclusions about the county regulations on dance
halls, an excerpt from county code is included
Chapter 4 AMUSEMENTS*
ARTICLE II. DANCE HALLS
Sec. 4-200. Definition.
The term "dance hall" shall mean
any place open to the general public where
dancing is permitted within the County.
Sec. 4-201. Permit required,
A. No person shall
operate or conduct a public dance hall in the
County unless a permit has been obtained.
B. Application shall
be made by the owner or operator to the
County Administrator on forms provided by the
County Administrator and shall be made at
least ten (10) days prior to time of holding
such dance. Application may be made for an
Sec. 4-202. Issuance; revocation.
A. The County
Administrator shall issue or deny the
application within three (3) business days
after application. The application may be
denied if the application is false or
incomplete or if the County Administrator
determines issuance will be a detriment to
public peace, health and welfare.
B. The County
Administrator shall issue a permit for one
dance or an annual calendar year permit. An
annual permit must show and identify the
location of the licensed establishment.
C. The County
Administrator may revoke any permit if, after
notice and hearing, he determines the permit
was obtained by fraud or false
representations, the holder has failed to
comply with this article, that the licensee
has violated the alcoholic beverage control
laws, or the licensee has been convicted of a
D. The refusal
to issue, failure to issue within the
allocated time, or revocation of license may
be appealed to the Board.
Sec. 4-203. Hours of operation.
It shall be unlawful to operate or conduct a
public dance hall between the hours of 1:00
a.m. and 7:00 a.m. or on Sunday, except such
prohibition shall not apply on December 24
and December 31.
(Ord. of 1-22-96)
Sec. 4-204. License tax;
An annual license tax of fifty dollars
($50.00) is imposed on each license issued
except licenses issued to religious,
educational, civic, or military organizations
or licenses issued for dances for benevolent
or charitable purposes.
Cross reference(s)--License tax on business,
trades, professions and occupations, § 8-300
government regulate what a person allows in their
According to this ordinance, anywhere dancing
is allowed to the public is a "dance
hall." This means, technically, that
you cannot dance anywhere except for those few
places in Henry County that are registered as
dance halls. According to the Declaration
of Independence we are given the right, by
nature, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. Dancing is, in the mind of the
author, included in a person's right to pursue
happiness. With this, we must work toward a
tolerant government that allows its people those
basic rights guaranteed by nature. Included
in these rights must be even the simple things
such as dancing.
Some may see this as a more sensitive issue as
they feel there are places where dance halls
should not be allowed, and maybe they have a
point. In fact, the above ordinance has
been used in the past to keep dance halls from
being built in areas where the officials felt
they might increase the amount of crime.
What does one have to say about this?
Well, not long ago in Henry County
shootings occured at field parties in
Horsepasture and Figsboro. Some even died
because of these shootings. The argument
that should follow is that by not allowing dance
halls to be constructed wherever the people may
want them, government reduces the number of
places young people can go where at least the
police could know where they are in case things
do get out of hand. In order to reduce the
amount of violent crime in our area, our
government must become more tolerant when it
comes to non-violent acts. Without a doubt, our
government should allow the people the right to
have dancing where they feel it is appropriate.
What do think about the dance hall ordinance?
Should government tell a business, or the
people for that matter, whether or not they can
allow dancing? Please express your feelings
below by voting and feel free to leave a comment
about the issue.
You can learn more about
where the party stands on the issues at our
national headquarters web site, www.lp.org , or the state web site LPVA.com .