The Texas Finance Committee approved a bill Thursday
(April 17) that would ban Texas entities responsible for investing state funds
from investing in companies directly associated with offensive lyrics, as well
as those indirectly associated by virtue of a 10 percent or more stake in such
enterprises, according to a Reuters report.
The purpose of this
bill, authored by Republican State Sen. Bill Ratliff (chairman of the finance
committee), is to put pressure on corporations that own record companies. One
company already targeted is Seagram Co., which owns MCA, which in turn owns 50%
of Interscope Records (Snoop Doggy Dog, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, etc.)
In February, Texas' Permanent School Fund said it would sell $3.5 million of
Seagram Co. stock because of lyrics on some of the Interscope
Under the "offensive" category would be lyrics that describe
acts of criminal violence, including murder and assault; necrophilia,
beastiality or pedophilia; illegal use of controlled substances; criminal
street gang activity; degradation or denigration of females; or violence
against a particular sex, race or ethnic group. Sounds like songs by everyone
from the Beatles and John Lennon to Cypress Hill, Liz Phair and Alanis
Morissette would fit the bill.
Governmental entities that currently own
such investments will be required to divest "as soon as is reasonable and
practical" but no later than Jan. 1, 1999.
The Texas Senate is expected to
vote on the bill next week.