Chicago and Illinois Pursue Anti-Rave Laws

Looks like cities and states are now following the federal lead, threatening “rave” promoters (and those who allow their buildings to be used for a “rave”) with criminal prosecution. This article is from the Chicago Tribune May 3, 2001.

City, State, target instigators of raves with stiff penalties

By Ray Long and Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune Staff Reporters. Tribune staff reporters Gary Washburn and Joe Biesk.

The Chicago City Council and the Illinois General Assembly moved
aggressively Wednesday to crack down on wild rave parties that lure
youngsters into environments loaded with dangerous club drugs, underage drinking and sometimes predatory sexual behavior.

Mayor Richard Daley pushed through the council an ordinance that will send building owners and managers to jail if they intentionally let a property be used for raves at which controlled substances are used, distributed, stored or made. Violators could face jail terms of 2 weeks to 6 months.

Meanwhile, the Illinois House Executive Committee approved a bill that would make it a crime to promote raves loaded with illegal activity. Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), who handled the bill, said he expected it to be amended, but the goal is to make it tough for promoters to set up a rave.

Passage of the city ordinance, which took effect immediately, prompted Daley to lash out at the people who produce the huge rogue dance parties where Ecstasy and other designer drugs are widely used.

"They are after all of our children," Daley said. "Parents should be
outraged by this."

Raves are an international sensation. The one-night-only parties are
often held in warehouses or secret locations where people pay to dance, do drugs, play loud music, and engage in random sex acts. They are often invitation-only or attended by people who learn about the location by checking an Internet site or calling a telephone number listed on clandestinely distributed fliers. Despite the widespread popularity, the raves can be dangerous and even deadly. They were linked to three deaths in the Chicago area last year.

The legislation pending in Springfield would define what constitutes a "criminal rave" and impose even tougher penalties on promoters if they knew that people under 18 would attend. Promoters convicted in the worst cases also could be subject to civil penalties and could be sued by parents whose children attend.

Backers of the legislation acknowledge that it needs fine-tuning to make it both effective and able to withstand a court challenge.

"We aren't looking to stop dancing or keep people from having a good time or going to parties," said John Roe, a city of Chicago lobbyist. "But we want to ensure that the drugs aren't there." ...