The legal battles continue to spin around Texas’ so-called “pole tax,” a $5 entrance fee at strip clubs that has been ruled an unconstitutional regulation of free expression.
Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Comptroller Susan Combs on Thursday asked the Texas Supreme Court to overturn lower courts that have said the 2-year-old law is unconstitutional.
The fee was meant to fund programs assisting victims of sexual assault. Many clubs have ignored the fee, but more than $12 million has been collected. The money is being held in an account pending the legal battle’s outcome.
The Texas Entertainment Association, which represents strip clubs across the state, sued and a state district judge struck down the law in 2008. A 2-1 ruling last week by the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals said the tax improperly singles out a form of expression, nude dancing, for regulation.
As we saw with the Third Court’s opinion, the proponents of the tax believe they have hope for a reversal by the Supremes. I just have my doubts that the matter will be resolved before the courts before the Lege gets another crack at it. Who knows, maybe it’ll be on the call for the special session.