Texas Censorship Bill Modified; B-Real Says He's Not Gonna Take It

"People need to start getting conscious," says B-Real.

A committee in the Texas state legislature has decided it prefers

that state investment officers "speak out" rather than "pull out" with regard

to state holdings in record companies producing what they consider to be

"obscene" music.

The Pensions and Investments Committee of the House of

Representatives voted Thursday to approve a bill that allows state

investing officers to use their stockholder voting rights to discourage

investment in any business entity that produces obscene musical works as

defined by the measure. The bill, authored by Republican committee chair Barry

Telford, acts as a House substitute for a Senate bill passed last month

requiring state entities to divest as soon as possible from record companies

producing obscene work, as well as from those companies' parent corporations.

Cypress Hill rapper B-Real, who is currently leading a new hip-hop side

project called The Psycho Realm, told ATN he believes the proposed legislation

is "unconstitutional... The government throws the first amendment around

loosely."

Paul Russinoff, director of state relations for the Recording

Industry Association of America, calls the substitute bill "a relatively

dramatic change, in that it doesn't prohibit investment or force divestiture."

He allowed that the new measure "is certainly an improvement," but added,

"We're certainly not supporting it." As a general rule, the RIAA frowns upon

any government opinion on the suitability of lyrics.

Now that

measure...



Now that measure has been passed out of committee, it has

until May 28 to be passed by the full House of Representatives. If the bill

survives a House vote, the Senate then must decide whether to accept the

substitute text or to send both versions to a conference committee for

reconciliation.

The substitute bill adds to the original text's list of

objectionable music that advocates violence toward a particular sexual

orientation or religion.

The new measure specifically allows investment

officers to "to promote stockholder resolutions and board actions that

discourage investment in a business entity that records or produces any musical

work that explicitly advocates: murder, assault, assault on peace officers,

sexual assault, and robbery; necrophilia, bestiality, or pedophilia; illegal

use of controlled substances; criminal street gang activity; degradation or

denigration of females; or violence against a particular sex, race, ethnic

group, sexual orientation, or religion."

Meanwhile, according to Russinoff,

the original Senate text of SB 1923 has been attached as a rider to a House

Appropriations bill. "We are still firmly opposed to that particular

provision," Russinoff told ATN. The Appropriations Committee office could not

be reached for comment.

"People need to start getting conscious," said

B-Real. "There's got to be something done. We're not going to take that

shit."

In any case, B-Real says, "They can't stop us everywhere. [Artists]

will go underground and make money regardless and say what they gotta

say."