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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dwarf-tossing ban would exempt licensed wrestling matches

Shoshana Kehoe-Ehlers, second from left, talks to reporters Jan. 31, outside the Capitol in Olympia after a hearing before the Senate Law and Justice Committee of the Washington Legislature to discuss a proposed statewide ban on risky entertainment events, including dwarf tossing, that feature people with dwarfism. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

OLYMPIA – Dwarf tossing would be illegal in Washington but licensed entertainment companies could still offer wrestling events that feature little people in the latest version of a bill moving through the Senate.

The Law and Justice Committee on Thursday approved and sent to the full Senate a revised version of a bill that would ban events in which contestants toss a little person. A bar that sponsored such an event could lose its liquor license and a strip club could lose its business license.

The original bill was amended to make an exception for theatrical wrestling events by a company that is licensed to stage boxing, wrestling and martial arts matches.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said dwarf tossing is dangerous and demeaning, adding, “If you want to throw something, maybe throw a sack of potatoes but not a person because of their size or stature.”