A campaign is growing against 'anti-rave' legislation being proposed in the California State Assembly by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. AB 74, also known as the Anti-Raves Act of 2011, is worded as follows:
'SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Anti-Raves Act of 2011.
SEC. 2. Section 421 is added to the Penal Code, to read: 421. (a) Any person who conducts a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than three and one-half hours is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or twice the actual or estimated gross receipts for the event, whichever is greater. (b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a public event on private property if the entity that conducts the public event has a business license to operate a bar, club, theater, entertainment venue, or other similar business, or to conduct sporting events, and conducting the public event is consistent with the business license. (c) For purposes of this section, "night" means that period between sunset and sunrise'.
In effect the law, if passed, would prohibit raves on public property and prevent raves on private property unless a business owner has a license to host such an event. Ma claims that 'Raves foster an environment that threatens the health and safety of our youth... The introduction of AB 74 is the first step toward eliminating these dangerous events'.
The bill follows the death in June of 2010 of a 15-year-old girl died at a rave at the publically owned Los Angeles Coliseum, and of two people in May 2010 at the state-owned Cow Palace in Daly City. But as opponents have pointed out, the bill actually makes no reference to drugs and in any case drug dealing is already covered by existing laws. By targeting 'pre-recorded' music, the bill is explicitly singling out electronic dance music, with Ma stating: "The bill is not intended to impact traditional music concerts and sporting events. AB 74 is about cracking down on raves that harbor drug use and lead to teenage deaths."
Check out the Facebook group: Protect Your Right to Dance: Anti-AB 74
Here's a short film of people staging a Right to Dance protest rally in Los Angeles in 1997 during a previous campaign against state harrassment of parties:
Obviously there are similarities here too with the British Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which notoriously legislated against unlicensed raves playing music 'predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats'.