June 07, 1997
Texas Acts Against Gangsta Rap
DALLAS (AP) -- Texas is poised to become the first state to
ban its agencies from investing in companies whose artists' songs
promote violence or degrade women. The target, supporters say, is
Gov. George W. Bush apparently must sign the bill, since it is
irrevocably tied to the state's pending 900-page budget. Bush has
already heard from people who have learned of the legislation
from angry radio disc jockeys.
"Who are they kidding? They aren't looking to screen all
types of music," said David Douglas, manager of Dallas music
store that sells gangsta rap CDs and tapes. "They've taken
aim at gangsta rap because that's what they don't like. Gangsta
rap is the new heavy metal."
Supporters, however, said they are trying to halt an ongoing
"American tragedy" by attacking music they say
"I defy any newspaper in Texas to print those
lyrics," said Sen. Bill Ratliff, a Republican from Mount
Pleasant. "If they can't be printed in a newspaper, why can
they be pumped into 13-year-olds' brains for three to four hours
Under the measure, state agencies will not be able to buy
stock in companies like Seagram Co., which has rights to the
lyrics of songs from artists that include Snoop Doggy Dogg and
Some agencies will have to sell such stock or risk losing
The Employees Retirement System said it had a Seagram
investment worth about $8.4 million as of Dec. 31. The University
of Texas System has a $3.8 million stake in Seagram.
Universal Music Group, which is owned by Seagram, declined to
comment Friday. However, the Recording Industry Association of
America denounced the legislation as an attack on free speech
"They know they can't get away with outright censorship,
so they're taking it one little move at a time," said RIAA
president Hilary Rosen. "They won't be looking at ZZ Top or
Willie Nelson, who sing songs that could be construed as
degrading women. The bill is aimed at specific groups and artists
that have dared to offend the legislature."
Ms. Rosen said the measure will be challenged in court.