Texas House advances bill to ban sexual acts in front of minors after removing mention of drag

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The Texas House advanced a bill that would ban certain sexually oriented performances from being done in front of minors.

Senate Bill 12, which passed to the third reading on Friday, restricts these performances on public property, on the premises of a commercial business or in the presence of children under 18-years-old.

The legislation was originally written to restrict or ban drag shows in the state, but language prohibiting drag was removed after such a move was found to be unconstitutional.

The bill also prohibits people who control the premises of the business from allowing these performances in front of minors. Owners who violate this rule would be liable for a $10,000 penalty for each offense.

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The Attorney General may recover expenses incurred by the civil penalty, including court fees and attorney fees. The Attorney General may also obtain a temporary or permanent injunction to restrain the violation.

Counties and municipalities would be permitted to regulate performances as necessary, but they would not be able to authorize a performance on public property or in front of minors.

Prohibited sexual acts under the bill include the exhibition or representation, actual or simulated, of sexual acts, including vaginal sex, anal sex, and masturbation; male or female genitals in a lewd state, including a state of sexual stimulation or arousal; the exhibition of a device designed and marketed as useful primarily for the sexual stimulation of male or female genitals; or actual contact or simulated contact occurring between one person and the buttocks, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person. 

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Drag Queen performing

The bill defines “sexually oriented performance” as a nude performer or any other performer who engages in sexual conduct and appeals to the interest of sex.

The penalty for performing a sexual performance in front of a minor would be a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $4,000 or both.

The bill says sexually oriented performances may not be done on public property at a time, in a place and in a manner that could be reasonably expected to be viewed by a child or on the property of a commercial business in the presence of a child.

If passed, the bill would go into effect in September.

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