'Booty Bill' Passed By Texas House

Cheerleader in silhouette waves pom poms during homecoming bonfire, 9-28-95
AP (file)
Sideline booty-shakin' at Texas high school football games would be restricted to more ladylike performances from the cheering squad, under legislation approved Tuesday by the Texas House.

The measure, dubbed "the booty bill," still must be approved by the Senate and sent to the governor's desk before it can become law.

The bill would prohibit "overtly sexually suggestive" routines at school-sponsored events, giving the state education commissioner authority to request that school districts review performances.

"Girls can get out and do all of these overly sexually performances and we applaud them and that's not right," said Democratic Rep. Al Edwards of Houston, who filed the legislation.

Edwards argued that lascivious exhibitions are a distraction for high school students that result in pregnancies, high school dropouts, contraction of AIDS and herpes and "cutting off their youthful life at an early age."

Bawdy performances are not defined in the bill, which was approved on a 65-56 vote.

"Any adult that's been involved with sex in their lives, they know it when they see it," Edwards said.

In a state known for its reverence of Friday-night football, Edwards said he filed the legislation after seeing too many ribald routines by young girls in his district.

Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say the measure is unnecessary because state law already prohibits public lewdness by students on or near a school campus.

Critics also argue that the difference between suggestive dancing and artistic expression can be difficult to determine.