A measure barring state agencies in Texas, including the four major public pension funds, from investing in any media company that releases recordings with offensive lyrics, will become law in 1998, although it is expected to be contested.
Even though the "gangsta rap" bill, as it was called, died as a separate bill in the legislative session that ended May 31, the item was attached to the 1998-'99 state budget appropriations bill as a rider and will be signed soon into law by Gov. George W. Bush.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Bill Ratliff and met with little support during the regular legislative session.
Recording industry officials opposed the bill. Singer/songwriter Willie Nelson submitted a letter of opposition and fellow Texas musician Jimmy Dale Gilmore testified against the measure.
But Mr. Ratliff revived the bill by using the rider tactic, which has been criticized in the past by elected officials, including himself.
The measure would bar state agencies from investing in companies that record or distribute recordings that describe, glamorize or advocate certain activities, including violence, necrophilia, bestiality or pedophilia, drug use, gang activity and "degradation or denigration" of women.
The measure would not become effective until September 1998 but is expected to be challenged in court on constitutional grounds if not disposed of by a state Attorney General opinion.
A spokesman for the $52 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas had no comment on the measure. "We have no position (regarding the bill); the Legislature does in its wisdom what they do and we will be watching closely."