Want to pass an unpopular bill then attach it to a popular bill.
April 9, 2003 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Want to pass an unpopular bill? Then attach it to a popular bill. While we're talking about "spreading democracy" around the world maybe its time we took a good look at our own. The almost universally hated RAVE Act is back and attached to an unrelated child abduction bill.
posted by skallas (33 comments total)
 
The ACLU's take on this here.
posted by skallas at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2003


Inexcusable.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:35 PM on April 9, 2003


It makes me so mad that they get away with this tactic so often. Often stuff that's even less remotely related than in this case is tacked on. So, if someone votes against the 1996 Safe Streets Omnibus Child Protection Act because of ridiculous amendments, his opponents will attack him for doing nothing to 'keep our streets safe for our children'. Gah.
posted by crunchburger at 5:37 PM on April 9, 2003


Sorry, had to be done..

Kent: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.

Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --

Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?

[everyone boos]
Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]

Kent: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
posted by Mossy at 5:37 PM on April 9, 2003


Maybe I can convince my congresswoman to slip in a rider that makes slipping in riders illegal.

Actually, this practice is hated by many and if made illegal would make an excellent non-partisan selling point come election time. Unfortunately, I think the pork and other BS they attach is worth more to them than doing away with this obvious corruption.
posted by skallas at 5:41 PM on April 9, 2003


Ah, the RAVE act ain't so bad. Anything that reduces the number of ravers I have to come in contact with has got to be a good thing.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on April 9, 2003


jonmc, heh, you're better off opposing this. At least they're easy to avoid if they're all packed into a giant RAVE someplace. Now they'll be wandering the streets aimlessly raving at intersections, in the grocery store, etc. Remember how you could breakdance anywhere in the 80s. Be afraid.
posted by skallas at 5:53 PM on April 9, 2003


This practice is always something that's amazed me about how the US legislature seems to work. This simply doesn't seem to happen here in Australia - I'm just wondering what makes the process different so as to allow the inclusion of essentially unrelated laws within a bill. Weak house of review? Lack of legal controls?
posted by Jimbob at 7:15 PM on April 9, 2003


Then they came for the ravers...
posted by homunculus at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2003


... and I didn't say anything because I couldn't blink.
posted by yhbc at 7:56 PM on April 9, 2003


Ravers should throw parties with a christian theme, complete with crucifixes, holy water squirt guns, 3-d jesus pictures, etc.
Let's see'em outlaw that.
posted by 2sheets at 7:57 PM on April 9, 2003


Neal Pollack has something to say about it, too.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:08 PM on April 9, 2003


Dammit, mattpfeff just beat me to it... you know, I wonder if there's still public seating in Congress...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:11 PM on April 9, 2003


Once again, I ask 'who is this Neal Pollack, and why do we talk about him so darn much lately?'
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:32 PM on April 9, 2003


I'm just wondering what makes the process different so as to allow the inclusion of essentially unrelated laws within a bill. Weak house of review? Lack of legal controls?

The Constitution says that each house can come up with its own rules, with the only stipulations being:

(1) Each member gets 1 vote
(2) There is such an office as Speaker of the House, though its powers, if any, are entirely up to the House to decide
(3) The VP is President of the Senate and gets to break ties, and there is such an office as President Pro Tempore, though its powers, if any, are entirely up to the Senate to decide.

As long as you're not violating one of those 3 things, anything is fair game for rules.

The House has a germaneness rule that prohibits this sort of rider (an amendment (in this case the text of another bill) that is unrelated to the bill it amends), though they will pass ``omnibus'' bills that are about 3 billion different things all at once.

But the Senate doesn't have a germaneness rule. Why not? Because Senators find it useful not to, basically, and no one can make them; Senators seem to like relying more on informal norms and threats than on strict rules. So any Senator is free to attach the entire text of his or her hobbyhorse bill as an amendment to another bill.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:34 PM on April 9, 2003


Someone should tell their mothers. We'd see 'em get a good clip upside the head pronto, and then there'd be some changes!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on April 9, 2003


"...as an owner, lessee, agent, employee, occupant, or mortgagee, and knowingly and intentionally rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance.''
vs.
The “RAVE” Act threatens free speech and musical expression while placing at risk any hotel/motel owner, concert promoter, event organizer, nightclub owner or arena/stadium owner for the drug violations of 3rd parties – real or alleged – even if the event promoter and/or property owner made a good-faith effort to keep their event drug-free.
vs.
... the almost universally hated RAVE ACT...

??
posted by G_Ask at 9:49 PM on April 9, 2003


How did Joe Biden sneak this one past my nose?
posted by ZupanGOD at 10:12 PM on April 9, 2003


vs.
S. 226. A bill to prohibit 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, and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Hey where did "intentionally" go?

This is the same text on the thomas.loc.gov site, but I can't link to a wacky dynamic page.

This extends the "crackhouse act" by adding managing, renting, and leasing, thus putting liability on landlords and putting a huge chill on any event that *might* have drugs in them. Landlords will tell organizers of any event not endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America to piss off, further driving raves and other events deeper underground and making them MORE dangerous.
posted by skallas at 10:23 PM on April 9, 2003


Once again, I ask 'who is this Neal Pollack, and why do we talk about him so darn much lately?' --stavrosthewonderchicken

I dunno, but damn, he's funny.
posted by dejah420 at 11:50 PM on April 9, 2003


Landlords will tell organizers of any event not endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America to piss off, further driving raves and other events deeper underground

They could be in the center of the earth and they wouldn't be far enough away for my taste.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 AM on April 10, 2003


jonmc: from two posts, we get the message - you can't dance.
posted by niceness at 6:10 AM on April 10, 2003


niceness: Dancing, clubs, raves and the like are for morons who buy the idea that their particular brand of mindless conformity qualifies as "tribalism," thus making them doubly trite and tedious. If standing outside some converted warehouse and being judged on your shoes by some gland case to see if you're worthy to go inside and pay $8 for a heineken or alternately jumping around in the woods with a buch of X-gobbling idiots dressed like smurfs is your idea of a good time, knock yourself out.
posted by jonmc at 6:59 AM on April 10, 2003


I was at an art installation/dance night at a warehouse where there were no obvious drugs being consumed, sold, or traded. Everything was clean, most of the cover charges were waived since most everyone knew each other, and people spent a few very fun hours playing with touch-sensitive floor panels, microphones hooked up to lights, and listening to DJs spin ...

Chicago cops still managed to shut down the entire evening, combing through rental agreements and contracts for a good 45 minutes, once the team of men in blue combed through the entire place, even scouring the bathrooms and picking through garbage, trying to find anything they could to 'bust' the coordinators.

I don't even know what loophole it was they used to end the evening, but they didn't find a damn thing that would term the evening as a rave. Incredibly frustrating, intensely stupid. There were between 10-15 officers there, all told, at least that were wearing uniforms and/or flashing badges.

I'm sure glad they saved me from being trite and tedious! And with the passage of the RAVE act (or some facsimile) it will be even easier!
posted by wells at 7:41 AM on April 10, 2003


The Committee Report isn't available yet; it will be here. Of course, it still has to pass the House and Senate.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:03 AM on April 10, 2003


jonmc, the proposed legislation doesn't differentiate between raves and club events, art gallery events, or any musical event (where any type of music is being played) that might possibly have one person using an illegal substance. the wording of the legislation is extremely poor, frankly, and your diatribe is disappointingly narrow-sighted, not to mention played-out (much like raves).
posted by dytiq at 8:10 AM on April 10, 2003


I think the law is stupid, too.

I just took the oppurtunity to rant against raves.
posted by jonmc at 8:18 AM on April 10, 2003


Unfortunately this type of skullduggery is par for the course. Any one else remember when clinton wanted to push through GATT, everyone got their multi-thousand page booklet of "implementing legislation" 48 hours before a vote was taken? Or even better the funding for the new CIA campus was hidden in dozens of spending bills? What we REALLY need is a law against attaching riders not pertaining DIRECTLY to the bill in question!
posted by hoopyfrood at 9:06 AM on April 10, 2003


Anybody who can be bothered to put down the Onion for a minute is invited to send a letter.
posted by muckster at 9:13 AM on April 10, 2003


Aw no love for the dancing fools, johnmc? But you are so right, everyone that goes to a club or rave must be a moron. Dancing is silly. Look to the wisdom of the Amish. Amen!

I'm too sexy for this rave....
posted by john at 10:38 AM on April 10, 2003


What we REALLY need is a law against attaching riders not pertaining DIRECTLY to the bill in question!

You can't; you'd need a constitutional amendment to do that.

Or you could only vote for senatorial candidates who pledge to try to put into place a germaneness rule there, too. And if there aren't any, run yourself. All you'd need then is to get another 50 people like you elected!

Besides, even if you had a germaneness rule, all it would do is make Congress pass more popular stuff and less unpopular stuff. I don't know that that has much to do with passing more smart stuff and less stupid stuff.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:30 PM on April 10, 2003




Fax Attorney General Ashcroft right now! Urge him and President Bush to make clear and careful enforcement decisions that uphold our freedom of speech, right to peacefully assemble, and our right to dance!

Call me cynical, but I see rave promoters as being prosecuted zealously.

"I remember going to a mixer and they were doing the twist, and we were appalled," said Bachmeyer, who lived with Ashcroft for all four years [of Yale]. (*)
posted by eddydamascene at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2003


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