A Texas state lawmaker has introduced a bill to ban erotic performances in the presence of minors after a Plano bar hosted a drag show attended by families and children last year.
Republican state Rep. Bryan Slaton filed House Bill 4129 on Wednesday to stop what he called the sexualization of children in Texas “in the wake of these erotic drag performances sweeping our state.”
“Sexualized performances where grown adults are dancing provocatively and stuffing money in their exposed underwear are no place for minors,” Slaton said in a statement.
He added that “the State has a strong interest and a duty to protect children from being sexually exploited, and HB 4129 is the most comprehensive bill filed this session to stop the sexualization of our kids by these performances.”
If passed, the bill would make these performances a third-degree felony if they occur in the presence of a minor. The bill also makes it a third-degree felony for a sexually-oriented business to allow an erotic performance in the presence of a child.
The first offense would result in a $10,000 fine, and the second offense would result in license revocation for the business, according to a news release. Additionally, any domestic or foreign for-profit or non-profit entity classified as a sexually-oriented business may not allow minors on the premise.
“This is not a partisan issue,” he said, emphasizing that people on both sides of the aisle recognize and believe that children should not be sexually exploited.
Slaton noted that if adults want to watch or engage in these performances in front of other adults, that is not affected by the bill.
“But erotic performances are no place for young children, and it must be stopped,” he said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this extremely important legislation into law.”
Comptroller Investigates Bar
According to a letter obtained by Texas Scorecard, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar launched an official investigation into Ebb and Flow, a Plano bar that hosted a drag show with children present in October last year.
The letter inquires about whether the bar operates as a “sexually oriented business,” which must pay a fee of $5 per customer to the comptroller under Chapter 102 of the Texas Business Code.
“However, we find no record of your company being set up on our system to report this fee,” the letter states.
The letter was prompted by a viral video filmed at an event there that showed a male dancer dressed in drag lifting his dress to show white panties while gyrating suggestively for cash donations in front of a little girl.
“Please review and determine whether your business hosts activities that would subject it to the fee,” Hegar wrote to the bar. “Please note that even if you only occasionally host events that would subject your business to the fee, you are responsible to collect the fee for the attendance during that event.”
The video went viral after Sara Gonzalez, who hosts a TV program on Blaze TV, posted it on Twitter.
The Texas Family Project (TFP) is an organization based in Austin that advocates for pro-family causes, including opposing child sex change operations, the use of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones on minors, and the sexualization of children in schools.
The website for Defend Our Kids TX includes a form that the public can use to notify the organization of scheduled drag shows that are marketed as “all-ages” or “family-friendly” and involve children’s participation.
TFP President Chris Hopper released a statement on Wednesday expressing his enthusiasm for Hegar’s letter to the bar.
“We are thrilled to see the Comptroller investigate this horrendous drag show for kids,” he said in a statement. “I pray he will take swift action to fine this and every other business that facilitates the sexualization of our children.”
The Texas comptroller has also investigated other drag shows that occurred in the presence of children, including one in Dallas caught on video that showed a child placing money in a performer’s undergarment.
The Epoch Times contacted Ebb and Flow for comment.