The battle over the dueling strip club bills in the Lege this session has mostly been over how much revenue each would collect. But the state has to actually collect that revenue for any of that to be relevant.
Dozens of strip clubs across Texas have ignored a 2007 law requiring them to charge a $5-per-patron entrance fee, potentially costing the state millions of dollars meant to fund sexual assault programs, records show.
Not a dime has yet been used to help the victims of sexual assault.
Since the law went into effect last year, only about $12.2 million has been collected by the state under the law for sexual assault prevention and treatment, far less than the $50 million that had been expected.
"We are, of course, disappointed," said Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. "But hopefully there will be more resources set aside for the comptroller to actually monitor this in the future."
Cohen said she wasn't surprised that some clubs have ignored the current law, especially in light of the uncertainty created by the court challenge and by the pending legislation.
"If they want to wait and see what's going to happen, that's their choice. They may end up having to pay it and penalties -- I don't know," she said. "I do respect those clubs that have stepped up to the plate and paid."
Topless and nude clubs in Houston and San Antonio have remitted about $4.3 million, about a third of the state total, records show.
More than 100 clubs, however, have ignored the fee entirely, while others have paid only small amounts. Some say they don't want to charge customers more at the door.