Can you ban a style of music? California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma learned the hard way that doing so might not be so easy when she tried to ban electronic rave music.
"We found out later on that, Constitutionally, you can not ban a type of music," said Ma. "Plus, I, like my opponents said, I didn't really know what was going on."
Despite the inability to ban rave music outright, Ma was able to squelch aspects of rave culture like LED gloves and pacifiers by keeping the pressure on event organizers with Assembly Bill 74 (formerly the "Anti-Raves Act" ), which became law on Oct. 9, 2011 when CA Governor Jerry Brown signed it.
The Assemblywoman first became concerned with raves when a 15-year-old girl named Sasha Rodriguez died at the popular Los Angeles rave, The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC).
EDC, a giant festival of electronic music, dancing and lights, was held in Los Angeles for the past 13 years, attracting hundreds of thousands of participants and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the Los Angeles economy. When Rodriguez died of an apparent ecstasy overdose, the LA Coliseum banned the event, which subsequently moved to Las Vegas for its 2011 festival.
Much of the political backlash against raves began in 2002, when then-Senator Joe Biden proposed the Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy, or RAVE Act, which he attached to popular bill targeting child abduction.