LOS ANGELES - After encountering strong opposition from free speech and dance music groups, AB 1941, the so-called "Anti-Rave" legislation has died in committee. The bill, originally introduced and passed by the state Assembly, was heard by the state Senate Public Safety Committee and did not produce the required number of votes to make it out of committee.
AB 1941 would have singled out electronic music promoters and "rave" parties for differential treatment, requiring them to undergo a vague and burdensome permit acquisition process. The legislation required promoters to "present evidence before the issuance of the permit showing that the promoter is sufficiently knowledgeable about illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia." It also sought to impose new liability burdens on event organizers.
"Singling out a specific type of music event, in this case electronic music, over another is an attempt to stifle speech and cultural expression," said Tenoch Flores, Media Relations Manager for the ACLU of Southern California. "The government cannot and should not be in the business of determining what kind of parties it likes or what kind of music it deems a 'threat'."
A coalition of free speech and dance organizations including the ACLU/SC, Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund, The Drug Policy Alliance, The San Francisco Late Night Coalition, and Dance Safe voiced opposition to the bill and launched grassroots efforts to defeat the legislation. The ACLU of Southern California helped organize a letter writing campaign after it was apparent that the bill would face little opposition in the state Assembly. The campaign picked up as the as the bill was introduced in the state Senate.
"This legislation represented nothing more than an attempt to criminalize electronic dance music and youth culture," said Flores. "The bill would have denied one group of people the same level of freedom that others enjoy. Most people attend electronic music events to listen to the music, dance and meet other like-minded individuals; their rights should not be snuffed out simply because dance culture makes a few legislators uncomfortable."