Houston strip-club fee passes: $5 per customer for rape kits

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by Doug Miller/ KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 10:54 AM

HOUSTON—Strip clubs in Houston will be forced to pay a $5 fee for each customer under an ordinance passed by the mayor and city council.

Money generated by the fee will help pay for processing a backlog of more than 4,000 untested rape kits.
Lawyers representing the topless bar industry vowed to fight in court.  They also argued Houston needs to come up with another way to pay for processing rape kits because the court fight will delay collection of the strip club fee.
The new ordinance is patterned after a state law, both of which were backed by Ellen Cohen, a former state representative who’s now a Houston city council member.  Cohen, a former head of the Houston Area Women’s Center, has been especially outspoken on the backlog of unprocessed rape kits.
The fee would also apply to some bars that occasionally offer sexually oriented entertainment like wet T-shirt events or “naked sushi contests.” 
The ordinance specifies that other bars will have to pay the $5 per customer fee only on days when they hold those promotional events.

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