State representative's bill would require Texas strippers to have licenses

Strip club shootings

Credit: John Pellizzari / WFAA

Cabaret East in Fort Worth.

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by TODD UNGER

WFAA

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 7:28 PM

ARLINGTON -- If one state lawmaker gets his way, adult dancers will have to get a state license before showing it all at Texas strip clubs.
 
State Rep. Bill Zedler (R - Arlington) said the idea is to try and prevent younger women from getting into the industry in the first place. He said it can serve as gateway to other problems, like drugs and prostitution.
 
"At church, my friend's daughter was attracted to it by the big money of stripping ... this isn't a single case, it's a pattern," said Zedler.
 
In order to get a license, performers would need to have a relatively clean criminal record, meaning no drug or prostitution offenses. They’d also take a class on human trafficking.  It would have to be displayed the entire time a dancer worked a shift.  
 
At some local strip clubs, like Pin Ups in Fort Worth, the idea is drawing mixed reaction.
 
“They don’t start prostitution, it doesn’t lead to drugs,” said Mike Miller, the club’s general manager.
 
Miller and some dancers say they aren’t opposed to the trafficking classes, although they point out a lot of reputable clubs already bring in people to discuss those subjects.
 
Other Texas cities, like Houston, have local laws on the books which require adult dancers to get a license.
 
A spokesman for the Houston City Attorney’s office said  they’ve had mixed results with their law, chiefly because many clubs fight being classified as an adult establishment, meaning their performers don’t have to get a license.
 
Zedler said he is willing to make changes to his proposal, especially if there are safety concerns with a dancer having to display her real name on the license. 
 
Some details, about just how much the license would cost and just how enforcement would work, are still being worked out.  
 

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