House approves strip club tax

April 2, 2009 1:36:52 PM PDT
The Texas House has overwhelmingly approved a new tax on sexually oriented businesses. Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson's proposal -- approved Thursday on a 141-1 vote -- would repeal a $5-per-person fee that strip clubs were required to collect from 2007 legislation. The measure now moves to the state Senate.

The new tax would apply to every sexually oriented business that charges an admissions fee. It would total 10 percent of the gross receipts of the business' admissions.

Topless club owners are fighting the previous state law in court. Thompson said her proposal would resolve that lawsuit because the new "occupation tax" does not target nude dancing, a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. She said the bill would help get millions of dollars that have been held up by the legal fight moving to a state fund for sexual assault victims.

The strip club owners who have paid the state under the old fee would get a credit toward the new tax.

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