AB 2441 establishes a new funding stream to support services to these victims by requiring a charge equal to $10 per customer patronizing a strip club. However, the bill provides the strip club the discretion to determine the manner in which they derive the money required to pay the tax; but for the exception that the tax may not be passed on to the entertainer.
Similar models are already in place in Texas and Utah. In 2011, California rape crisis centers served 29,929 sexual victims. These services were provided primarily with the use of federal pass-through funds with the state General Fund contributing only $45,000, or approximately $1.50 per rape victim. In 2011, rape crisis service providers took a nearly 25% cut in their federal fund dollars.
“There is a clear and urgent need for funding for effective delivery of services and care for women who have been sexually assaulted. To date, the precedent has been set by the Texas and Utah Legislatures and other states are examining this funding stream.” Assemblymember Das Williams said.
“We commend Assemblymember Williams for authoring this urgent legislation to save California’s rape crisis centers and programs that help victims of sexual assault. The need to establish a new and independent stream of funding for this cause has never been as urgent as it today, in light of continuing cuts to the state and federal budgets,” stated Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director of CALCASA. “Furthermore, we are offended by Assemblymember Nielsen’s flip use of ‘no means no’ as a justification to oppose this modest and completely appropriate approach to helping victims of sexual violence.”