U.S. Supreme Court Won't Hear Texas Pole Tax Case

Legislation calls for $5 door fee at all strip clubs to go to the state

By Frank Heinz
|  Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012  |  Updated 3:14 PM CDT
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Supreme Court Declines Texas Pole Tax Case

Texas' $5 strip club fee upheld.

$5 state strip club fee upheld.

The Texas pole tax is here to stay, for now. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case calling into question the legality of Texas' 2007 pole tax.

That means the ruling handed down in 2011 by the Texas Supreme Court, that a state-mandated $5 door charge to get into a strip club doesn't violate the First Amendment, stands.

The strip club industry has opposed the fee since it was approved by the Texas legislature in 2007. The fee is designed to raise money for sexual assault prevention programs and health care for the uninsured.

In 2011, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously, said the fee is too small to be considered a burden on free expression, and the state has a legitimate interest in trying to curb the secondary effects of potential violence associated with adult entertainment and alcohol.

The industry then tried to file a petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court review the case and that was declined.

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault said now is the time to start collecting the fee and putting money behind mitigating sexual assault.

"TAASA very respectfully encourages the Governor, the Legislature and the Comptroller to proceed with strategies to collect the fee established when HB 1751 passed in 2007.  With the strip club industry's strongest arguments knocked down by both the United States and Texas Supreme Courts and with years of fees owed and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, it's time to defer to victims of sexual assault," the group said in a news release Wednesday.

Most of the millions of dollars in funds collected so far have been held by the State Comptroller awaiting the final verdict.

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