City leaders in Galveston are considering a ban against tipping strippers as part of a crack down on sexually oriented businesses. If approved, the more than 50-page proposed ordinance would lead to tough restrictions on strip clubs with violators facing fines or even jail time.
"I believe the council should adopt the strongest ordinance allowed by law," Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton told KTRK 13 News.
Whispers Cabaret, a strip club, is reportedly the only sexually oriented business inside the city limits.
The ordinance would make it illegal for customers to tip nude or semi-nude dancers, punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.
"By what's written in the law, it would put this business out of business," said R. J. Purdue, the owner of Whispers.
Purdue is referring to the fact that the ordinance would make it illegal for customers to tip nude or semi-nude dancers, punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and a year in jail. The ordinance also addresses motels which rent rooms for less than a full night.
Beeton says she believes the proposed ordinance will help cut down on crime.
"We have complaints by the residents who live near them," she said. "The police have tried to respond, but to some extent, their hands are tied."
Galveston police chief Henry Porretto says, however, that Whispers isn't a major source of crime.
"To my knowledge, and according to official reports, the last two and a half or three years, we have no major calls for service or continued complaints," Chief Porretto said.
Beeton says the ordinance, which is based on similar ordinances that have been upheld in court, is for preventing future crime in addition to solving current problems.
At this time the Galveston city council has not scheduled a vote for the new stripper ordinance.