AUSTIN, Texas – After an alternately comic and fiery debate — punctuated by several lawmakers waving pompons — the state House on Tuesday approved a bill to restrict "overtly sexually suggestive" cheerleading to more ladylike performances.
The bill would give the state education commissioner authority to request that school districts review high school performances.
"Girls can get out and do all of these overly sexually performances and we applaud them and that's not right," said Democratic Rep. Al Edwards (search), who filed the legislation.
Edwards argued bawdy performances are a distraction for students resulting in pregnancies, dropouts and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Ribald performances are not defined in the bill. "Any adult that's been involved with sex in their lives, they know it when they see it," he said.
The bill passed on a 65-56 vote. It still must be approved by the Senate and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
One critic questioned the legislation's priorities.
"Have we done anything about stem cell research to help people who are dying and are sick advance their health? No," said Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson (search). "Have we done anything about the mentally ill, school finance or ethics?"
The American Civil Liberties Union (search) said the measure was unnecessary because state law already prohibits public lewdness by students on or near a school campus.