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Houston Voice, No. 1173, April 18, 2003
File 005
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Houston Voice, No. 1173, April 18, 2003 - File 005. 2003-04-18. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 28, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/16682/show/16657.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2003-04-18). Houston Voice, No. 1173, April 18, 2003 - File 005. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/16682/show/16657

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1173, April 18, 2003 - File 005, 2003-04-18, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 28, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/16682/show/16657.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1173, April 18, 2003
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
Publisher Window Media
Date April 18, 2003
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 005
Transcript 4 APRIL 18, 2003 www.houston voice.com HOUSTON VOICE national news Congress passes bill targeting rave scene "Chilling effect' on circuit parties feared, opponent says By LOU CHIBBARO JR. WASHINGTON — An antr-drug bill that gay and straight event promoters say could subject them to criminal prosecution for drug offenses committed by their customers passed in the House and Senate on April 10 by overwhelming margins. The legislation, formerly known as the RAVE Act and later renamed the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, sailed through Congress with little public notice and almost no debate after a House-Senate conference committee on April 8 attached the bill to the popular Child Abduction Prevention Act. President Bush said he plans to sign the legislation. Gay event promoters, including organizers of gay circuit parties, have warned that the anti-drug bill could subject them to criminal penalties and stiff civil fines, a development, they said, that could prompt them to consider discontinuing the popular circuit parties. Circuit events have long served as fundraisers for gay civil rights causes and AIDS organizations. The bill broadens the scope of an existing federal law, known as the Crack House Act, which gives the federal government authority to criminally prosecute owners of properties in which drug use and distribution occurs. The new legislation authorizes federal prosecution of organizers or promoters of one-time events, such as circuit parties or rave events, in which alleged drug use or distribution occurs. The bill also allows federal authorities to file civil charges against event promoters who allegedly allow drug activity at their events. Critics have said the civil offense Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said the bill is aimed at unscrupulous event promoters or club owners who 'knowingly' allow, encourage or promote drug use and sales on their premises. (Photo by AP) clause in the bill could be used to bankrupt promoters because they could be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine for each charge filed against them. Civil charges require a lower threshold of evidence than criminal charges, making it easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction. "It is important to remember that this legislation punishes business owners and event producers and sponsors for the actions of event attendees, despite their efforts to discourage or prevent illegal drug use," said gay event promoter Mark Lee. "Essentially there is no way for special event producers or circuit events to adequately protect themselves or their events from possible prosecution under the terms of the law," he said. Lee said he was especially concerned that the law allows authorities to use "harm-reduction" efforts by circuit party promoters as evidence of the promoter's "knowledge" that drug use is occurring at these events. Promoters of the D.C. Cherry Party, for example, have provided medical services and drug information literature for their patrons, services that Lee fears could be used against event promoters by an overzealous prosecutor. This legislation punishes business owners and event producers and sponsors for the actions of event attendees, despite their efforts to discourage or prevent illegal drug use.' -Gay event promoter Mark Lee Unscrupulous promoters targeted Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DeL), the author and chief sponsor of the Illicit Drug Anti- Proliferation Act, has denied the legislation would harm legitimate nightclubs or events. Biden said the measure is aimed at unscrupulous event promoters or club owners who "knowingly" allow, encourage or promote drug use and sales on their premises. . Biden noted that the club drug ecstasy is widely used in nightclubs that offer rave music as well as at one-time events that bill themselves as rave parties. While disputing assertions by the ACLU and rave party enthusiasts that his bill would violate First Amendment protection of free expression by singling out a specific type of music, Biden nevertheless agreed to remove the term "RAVE" from the bill's title, which was an acronym for Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy. Biden also deleted from the bill a preamble or "findings" section that linked the distribution of glow sticks, the sale of bottled water, and the offering of air conditioned "chill rooms" by event promoters as potential evidence that the events were encouraging the use or sale of ecstasy on William McColl, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which lobbied against the RAVE Act, said the legislation could embolden federal prosecutors to target gay circuit parties as well as rave music events for drug investigations, creating a 'chilling effect' for party organizers. their premises. The ACLU and a coalition of disc jockeys, musicians, rave enthusiasts, and club and event promoters that opposed the legislation argued that the "findings" section was especially unfair because it stigmatized what they called a legitimate form of music and entertainment enjoyed by large numbers of Americans. The child abduction measure, known as the Amber Alert bill, establishes a national, federally funded alert system to help local law enforcement agencies and the FBI rescue abducted children. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, making it difficult for opponents of the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act to persuade colleagues to vote against the combined legislation. The Senate passed the combined measure by a vote of 98 to 0. The House passed the legislation by a vote of 400 to 25, with eight members not voting and two members voting "present." 'Overly punitive' U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is gay, was among 25 House members to vote against the Amber Alert bill. Frank, who voted for an earlier version of the alert measure, said the Republican-controlled conference committee's decision to add the RAVE Act to the bill prompted him to vote against it last week. Frank called the former RAVE Act and its new incarnation another example of the nation's "overly punitive approach to drug use," which he dubbed "counterproductive." Opponents would have been able to line up many more votes against the mea sure had Republican leaders allowed it to reach the House floor as a freestanding bill, Frank said. The other two openly gay members of the House — Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) — voted for the combined bill. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who also voted against the Amber Alert bill, opposed a decision by the conference committee to attach several unrelated bills to the measure, in addition to the RAVE Act, turning the measure into a "Christmas tree" bill for ultra conservative causes, according to a Nadler spokesperson. William McColl, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that lobbied against the RAVE Act, said the version that Congress passed last week is broadly worded. He said the legislation will likely embolden federal prosecutors to cite the use of glow sticks and chill rooms as grounds for launching a drug investigation into rave or circuit parties. McColl added that prosecutors might also consider the practice of circuit party organizers to arrange for paramedics and private ambulances to be present outside circuit party locations as evidence that the organizers are aware of and condone the use of illegal drugs at such events. Circuit party organizers have said they do not approve of drug use but feel duty- bound to have emergency medical teams available in case patrons of the events become seriously ill from a drug overdose, a development that sometimes occurs at circuit parties. The Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, as passed by Congress, prohibits "an individual from knowingly opening, maintaining, managing, controlling, renting, leasing, making available for use, or profiting from any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance." McColl credited Reps. Robert Scott (D- Va.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) with strongly opposing efforts by the conference committee to add the illicit drug measure to the Amber alert bill. "Unfortunately, they were outvoted and RAVE Act provisions did become part of the bill," McColl said. The Amber Alert system is named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996. The system, which has already been adopted in various forms by 39 states, uses media broadcasts, highway road signs, and law enforcement announcements to instantly disseminate information about child abductions. O MORE INFO Drug Policy Alliance 92515th St, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005 202-216-0035 www.drugpolicy.org
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