AB 74, introduced by Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), would ban nighttime events that include prerecorded music and last more than 3.5 hours. Violators would be fined $10,000 or twice the gross receipts of the event, whichever is greater, and raves would be banned on private property unless a business owner had a license for such an event.

Two men died from apparent Ecstasy overdoses at a rave at the Cow Palace in Daly City in May and a 15-year-old girl overdosed at a rave at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in June.

Leaders at the Cow Palace, which is owned and operated by the state Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions, have already banned raves at the venue.

Critics argue the bill is too inclusive and could affect events like wedding receptions.

“The expression in legal analysis is ‘overbroad,’” UC Berkeley Law Professor Frank Zimring told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The problem is it sweeps innocent people up with not-so-innocent people. The problem of combining prerecorded music and a time period because you are worried about teens taking drugs is that it would also apply when there are no teenagers, or apply when there are no drugs.”

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) is as concerned about raves as Ma is, according to his chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, but the senator will not support AB 74.

“Sen. Yee doesn’t believe that the answer is banning raves: The rave is not the problem in and of itself,” Keigwin told the Chronicle. “The problem is the activity that is happening at raves combined with lack of adequate law enforcement and health services.”

Jason Sperling, an Oakland-based promoter of electronic music events, said in a statement that Ma’s legislation would just drive raves underground into “less regulated, less safe [and] less sane” situations.

Ma told Mercury News AB 74 is “the first step” toward eliminating the “dangerous events” and raves, and she told the Sacramento Bee the measure is just a starting point and the bill’s language can be refined. She dismissed concerns that the legislation would affect events like “clubs, bars, theatres and sporting events and private events like weddings.”

Daly City Mayor Carol Klatt reportedly supports Ma’s efforts.

Click here to read the complete San Francisco Chronicle article, here for the Mercury News item and here for the Sacramento Bee’s report.