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Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

2013 Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Texas Association Against Sexual Assault | Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award
Team Members: Ted Rutherford; Annette Buhhrus-Clay; Tim Love; Renee Gillespy; Lynn Williams; Glenn Stockard; Morgan Curtis; Dina Yup; Torie Camp
Austin, Texas

The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) advocates for and assists sexual assault survivors and works to create a Texas free from sexual violence. TAASA also supports legislation favorable to victims and advocates for increased funding for sexual assault programs at the federal and state levels. 

In 2007, TAASA successfully pushed legislation to fund sexual assault services through a $5.00 per customer fee at strip clubs that permit the sale or consumption of alcohol; the first $25 million collected over a 2-year period is directed toward sexual assault services. 

In 2007, strip clubs sued the state, claiming the fee infringed on their first amendment right to freedom of expression. In 2011, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the $5.00 fee based on the correlation between alcohol and live nude dancing and the negative secondary effects, such as sexual assault. The Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a challenge of that decision, effectively opening the door for other cities and states to pursue similar legislation. 

TAASA’s bold action in pushing forward this public policy laid the groundwork for other states. Texas is now one step closer to a sustainable source of funding for rape crisis centers and, most importantly, for supporting sexual assault survivors in their recovery.