Tougher Laws Could Target Texas Strip Clubs

(April 22, 2008)—Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Tuesday tougher laws would help Texas quickly shut down strip clubs and bars where minors are found performing.

Abbott appeared Tuesday before a state House committee on licensing at Dallas City Hall, where the City Council decided last week to strengthen its ordinances after police found evidence that a 12-year-old girl danced nude in a club last year.

It's already against the law to sexually exploit a child, but Abbott suggested several changes that could help state and local officials crack down on adult businesses more quickly, according to a story Tuesday on the Web site of The Dallas Morning News.

Abbott recommended making employment of a minor at a sexually oriented business a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

He also said the state could impose injunctions on adult businesses after one offense.

Abbott says stricter licensing of businesses and their employees would help, as would a system where clubs had to keep photographs and copies of drivers licenses of workers for up to two years after they leave.

A lawyer representing the Texas Entertainment Association says the industry is already heavily regulated. He objected to expanded licensing, saying it could discourage dancers and waitresses from seeking employment at such businesses.

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