Introduced in June of 1994 by State Representative T.J. Rooney as HB-2982. It was passed out of the State Judiciary Committee in September, but died when the General Assembly adjourned in November. When the new session was reconvened in January, Rooney reintroduced it as HB-377. At the end of February, HB-377 was again passed out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 13-6. If passed, HB-377 would make the sales of all recordings bearing a "Tipper-sticker" ILLEGAL to anyone under the age of 18. Retailers and their employees would be fined, and anyone under 18 caught buying, or attempting to buy a stickered album could be sentenced to perform 10-25 hours of unspecified "community service." HB-377 is currently in the House Appropriations Committee, but could be called to the House floor at any time without any prior notice. If you're a resident of Pennsylvania it is imperative that you immediately contact your local State Representative and urge them to VOTE NO on passage of HB-377, You can write your reps care of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, House Box 202020, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2020. Call them as well!
South Carolina, S-127
On January 10, S-127 was introduced before the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee by Representative Theo Mitchell. Mitchell, by the way, has since been expelled from the SC General Assembly for misappropriation of funds, and is currently suing the State to get his seat back. (Gee, wonder what type of music he listens to?) This bill also makes the sales of "Tipper-stickered" albums illegal to anyone under 18. A first offense is punishable by a fine of $200 and/or 30 days in jail. A second offense calls for a $500 fine and/or six months in jail. And if you get busted a third time, it becomes a felony offense and calls for a $2000 fine and/or five years in prison. This bill is still on hold in the Judiciary Committee with no public hearings yet set. Residents of SC are urged to contact by letter or phone, their State reps and express their outrage about this bill.
New Mexico, HB-762
This bill was introduced before the 1995 session of the New Mexico legislature by Representative Grau. It's a general broad sweeping bill has recordings lumped in with pictures, photos, drawings, sculptures, films, and anything else that may expose violently and sexually explicit materials to minors. The bill will make illegal any record, CD, or tape "which contains any explicit or detailed verbal or musical descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, sexual conduct, sadomasochistic abuse or violence and which, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors." The bill is currently in the NM Judiciary Committee, and then will go to the Appropriations Committee. Any of our readers in NM are urged to contact their local reps at once and urge them to VOTE HB-762 DOWN!
This is a rehashed version of the old Erotic Music Bill, reworded and renamed as The Harmful Material to Minors Bill. It would restrict any "publication (i.e., CDs, tapes, music videos, radio broadcasts or live concerts) that are determined (by someone) to be catering to the prurient interest of minors in sex." This bill would create "adults only" sections at record stores and impose radio broadcast restrictions. In addition, minors would be denied access to live concerts where such "harmful recordings" were performed. All of our readers in Washington are urged to contact, and get involved with the Washington Music Industry Coalition. You can reach them at: 206-682-7177. CALL THEM TODAY!!!
Introduced during the regular session of 1995 by Representative Haik. This proposed law prohibits the intentional sale or distribution of "lyrics harmful to minors" to an unmarried person under the age of 17 at a commercial establishment; further prohibits the purchase of such lyrics by an unmarried person under the age of 17.
The proposed law defines "lyrics harmful to minors" as any record, album, cassette, CD, or tape recording which has as its basic theme the advocation or encouragement of rape, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, prostitution, homicide, unlawful ritualistic acts, sexual battery, the use of controlled substances, or the unlawful use of alcohol, and which has a label (a Tipper-sticker) or other indicator that its lyrics may be explicit.
The proposed law provides penalties of a fine not more than $1000 imprisonment for not more than six months, or both for a violation of the foregoing by the seller and further provides, with respect to a violation by the purchaser (the minor), that he be remanded to the court exercising juvenile jurisdiction. (Yes, criminal records for buying a record.) If passed, this law will become effective January 1, 1996. People in Louisiana MUST contact their elected representatives and voice strong opposition to HB-373 NOW!
New York, A-5745
Just as we were going to press, we found out about this piece of work. So, this means that we have six bills to watch instead of five. This one was introduced on March 7, 1995 by NY Assemblyman D'Andrea. Following its initial reading it was referred to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. It will prohibit the sales of any record, tape or CD that contains lyrics descriptive of advocating or glamorizing suicide, sodomy, rape, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, adultery, (whoops, there goes nearly ALL the Country & Western albums) or any form of sexual activity in a violent context or the advocation of, or encouragement of murder, violent racism, religious violence, morbid violence, or the illegal use of drugs or alcohol. Whew! Now try saying all of that three times!
The proposed NY law creates a totally new Parental Advisory sticker that MUST be placed on albums. It specifies that it MUST be printed black on a fluorescent yellow background, and the bill goes into exact detail as to the point size of the print. This sounds like the same bill introduced in Pennsylvania back in 1990 by Ron Gamble.
Although the bill is vague as to what punishment will be handed out to violators, it does state that it will be a violation of the NY Penal Law. It clearly states that the courts can confiscate all materials in a convicted defendant's possession which does not bear the required sticker. It also requires that all retail outlets that sell "stickered" materials MUST have available for inspection, printed lyric sheets containing the lyrics of ALL stickered recording they sell. This law will not apply to any recording copyrighted prior to 1987, and if passed, this bill will take effect on the first day of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.
All of our friends in New York are STRONGLY urged to start making BIG NOISE about this piece of shit of a bill.
R.O.C. has copies of all the bills mentioned in this article. If anyone would like an actual copy, send us a SASE, along with a buck for copying, and we'll mail it out to you. It seems that every new one of these that pops up is totally more ridiculous than the last one. But considering the current political climate, we MUST take each of these seriously, knowing that one of these could become law.