Wow! The California State Senate has sure pulled some boners in the past, but this one has got to take the cake. They are seriously considering a new bill -- passed UNANIMOUSLY by the State Assembly! -- that would try to enforce regulations that have ALREADY been ruled unconstitutional. Tell them not to waste your money!
So, what's the deal, here? you may be asking yourself. What's going on? Well, see, here's the scoop: the California State Assembly has unanimously passed bill AB1941, dubbed by some "The Anti-Rave Bill," which would, among other things, make rave promoters legally liable for drug use or drug-related accidents that occur at their events. The State Senate is supposed to vote on this legislation on Tuesday, 25 June, 2002. That's this Tuesday, folks!
Now, this would normally just be the kind of grandstanding bash-the-kids feel-good election shit that you regularly see happening all over the country. Suburban housewives hear about some dipshit teenager who falls off the tailgate of their SUV at some massive somewhere and bonks their head. The scare-mongering local TV news stations run all-week specials entitled, "Raves: The Next People's Temple?" or "Raves: Osama bin Laden's Mechanism for Killing American Youth?" The soccer moms get all teary-eyed and curse those horrible raves anyways, and politicians jump in with retarded laws to try and "solve" the problem, such as banning raves or making safety nets required on all SUV tailgates.
I'm not saying that people OD'ing on drug XYZ and drowning in their own vomit is some kind of trivial problem, here. I'm just saying that maybe raves are not 100% at fault. Hmm? Possibly? Maybe the widespread ignorance of safe drug use -- which persecution of groups like Dance Safe doesn't help -- has something to do with it?
Anyways, the current grandstanding plan sounds pretty good to California legislators. They won't ban raves outright, which would be obviously dumb. Instead, they're doing something that's only-slightly-less-obviously dumb, since this same type of technique -- making promoters responsible for drug use at events -- has already been ruled unconstitutional!
As has been noted in these pages in the past, a similar policy by the Federal Department of Justice was struck down by Federal Courts in New Orleans earlier last year. In other words, this policy is a KNOWN LOSER. It has already been ruled unconstitutional! Yet our legislators unanimously think that it is a good idea to encode it into law, anyways!
So what will be the fate of AB1941, if it passes? Can anyone see a future for this law except a few unjust arrests and a long, drawn-out, EXPENSIVE court battle, which ends in the law being overturned? If there is no other future, then what is the point?
No matter how one feels about raves, ravers, or electronic music, it should give every California citizen pause to know that their legislators are breaking their oath to defend the Constitution by passing KNOWN UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation. Not only that, but they are DELIBERATELY wasting tax-payer money in advance by making a law that will have to be defended in court at great expense to you and me, with -- given legal precedent -- little or no hope of actually surviving.
So, hey: send a letter to your State Senator, if you're a Californian, and let them know that you don't appreciate him or her trying to gain some points at the polls by using your tax dollars as a campaign slush fund. The ACLU action alert linked below has more information -- you should use it.