County considers ‘clean hotel’ policy

2010-09-05T00:00:00Z 2010-09-05T10:37:06Z County considers ‘clean hotel’ policyBy Dustin Kass | Winona Daily News
September 05, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Winona County employees may soon be restricted from staying in hotels that offer pay-per-view pornography.

County commissioners Tuesday will consider adopting a “clean hotel” policy. The guideline would prevent county employees from staying in lodging establishments that offer pornography services, though the policy does have several specific exceptions.

The policy also calls for the county to request that the Association of Minnesota Counties adopt the rule.

The move is targeted at reducing sexual and domestic violence, which studies have linked to pornography, according to a county-issue paper on the subject.

“In and of itself, this policy is not a cure-all,” the document reads, “but it is an important effort to help prevent a social disease and its related costs to the public.”

The state of Minnesota spent $221 million in 2006 on costs related to sexual violence, according to county documents. That total did not include costs related to domestic violence. Meanwhile, local tax dollars support several county departments directly impacted by these crimes.

“It is logical to assume that prevention of certain criminal activities would reduce the costs of providing these services,” the issue paper states. “Prevention would also prevent the much greater social cost to the community.”

Using Winona County taxpayer dollars to support those businesses does not help address the problem, a proposed county board resolutions states.

Many county employees routinely travel as part of their duties, County Administrator Duane Hebert said, though travel totals were not immediately available Friday. Training and certifications for social workers, law enforcement officials and other employees often require they spend the night in a hotel, he said.

In those circumstances, employees would typically be reimbursed only if they choose a hotel that does not offer pornography, according to a draft county policy. More than 480 hotels in Minnesota meet that criteria, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The no-pornography rule would not apply if a hotel is the “host site” for a conference the employee is attending or if staying at a pornography-free site would cost more than 15 percent over another hotel.

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