Texas Strip Clubs Denied Injunction Against Cover Charge

AUSTIN, Tx. — District Judge Scott Jenkins has denied the request filed by owners of nude clubs across Texas for a temporary injunction to block a mandatory $5 cover fee taking effect Jan. 1.

The plaintiffs, Karpod, Inc. and the Texas Entertainment Association, argued in their request that the fee, intended to generate funds for sexual assault prevention programs and health insurance for low-income state residents, is an unfair tax and violation of their First Amendment rights.

Judge Jenkins heard testimony throughout the afternoon Tuesday from state and club attorneys, before ruling that the fee is constitutional and will stand.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Comptroller Susan Combs, defendants for the state, said in a brief filed Monday that the fee "does not prohibit nude dancing, does not dictate where live nude entertainment may be presented, does not require any minimum clothing and does not govern the physical setting for the activity."

The fee is expected to raise approximately $44 million per year. The first payments from the strip clubs are due to the state in April.