Banning Raves and Party Buses

Katy Grimes: Nanny Golden State is coming to the rescue once again, to save the little people from themselves.

Because two teens died from engaging in stupid behavior, California legislators are once again legislating common sense to the entire state.

Doug and Linda Studebaker’s 19-year-old son Brett died last February when he crashed his car into a sound wall on Highway 101 near San Mateo after hours of drinking on a “booze cruise” bus to celebrate a friend’s birthday. His blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, authored AB 45, named in the memory of Brett Studebaker, which would require operators of the party buses to first identify any passengers under 21, and then read a statement that says consuming alcohol on board is unlawful. Passengers under 21 would have to sign the statement.

Whoa –  there’s a measure with real some teeth.

Bus drivers who violate the law would be subjected to hefty fines and license suspensions, as well as misdemeanor criminal charges for further violations. If any underage passenger drinks alcohol, the driver would be required to end the bus ride and return passengers to the pickup location.

Not to be outdone by Hill’s proposed nanny bill, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma has one of her own. Ma has proposed AB 74, titled the Anti-Raves Act of 2011, states that “any person who conducts a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than 31/2 hours is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $10,000 or twice the actual or estimated gross receipts for the event, whichever is greater.”

The basis for Ma’s legislation was the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed on Ecstasy at the Electric Daisy Carnival in June at the Los Angeles Coliseum. A month before daisy carnival, two people died at a rave at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

Heavy drug use is said to take place at raves, with Ecstasy being the drug of choice.

Hill is also the author of AB 1601, the tough new DUI law that cracks down on repeat drunk driving offenders. AB 1601, signed this year by Governor Schwarzenegger,  goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and authorizes judges to revoke a drivers license for 10 years for persons convicted of three or more DUIs in a 10-year period. Current law allows only for a license revocation period of three years for someone with three or more DUIs.

As tragic as the deaths of teens always are, the behavior is not accidental. Nanny laws almost always punish business owners by putting the additional regulatory burdens on the business, rather than on the person making the decision to partake in dangerous behavior.

Hill’s party bus legislation is ridiculous and frankly, government interference with the party bus owners’ ability to do business.  Ma’s legislation is only slightly less ridiculous given that raves can be spontaneous, and even sometimes involve trespassing on private property. But her bill does not address that aspect, and in fact, the two raves that Ma bases the legislation on were approved, legal, public events, organized by privately-owned companies, held at state-owned facilities.

These tragic deaths were not accidental – the teens placed themselves in positions of potential danger and sadly, suffered the ultimate  consequences. But legislating what is common sense to the rest of the people in California is the ultimate abuse of Legislators’ authority.

DEC. 24, 2010

Related Articles

Going green – more hype than reality

Katy Grimes: Going green is costly, and not as popular as the government would have you believe. Many voters agree,

CA’s economic funk: ‘Regulators gone wild’ take their toll

For Sunday’s U-T San Diego, I did an essay about how California went from being the world pioneer in sensible

Kashkari is the GOP establishment’s choice

I just got another flyer from Neil Kashkari, the fourth so far. See the images below. It’s similar to the first flyer, which I