A SIGN OF THE TIMES. The Editor has been off on his travels, and while he was in America,
A SIGN OF THE TIMES.
The Editor has been off on his travels, and while he was in America,
he picked up a copy of the latest File 18 newsletter. Well the long
and the short of it is that Idaho has finally passed laws relating to
"ritual child abuse".
Ever wondered how the fundies get legislation through the various
legislative bodies? Are you curious how Reachout is liaising with the
Knight committee? Now is your chance to find out.
From the File 18 Newsletter, Vol V, No. 90-2, April 1990.
RITUALISED CHILD ABUSE LEGISLATION PASSED!
[The spelling has been changed to U.K. standard, I think...]
In the wake of much recent publicity centred on Idaho concerning the
abortion issues, the Editors are very pleased to announce a major
legislative milestone concerning the investigation of Ritualised Child
Abuse (R.C.A.) in Idaho. On April 3, 1990, Governor Cecil Andrus
signed House Bill 817 into law. This bill, which passed unanimously
through both the Idaho Centennial Legislature's House and Senate, will
be Idaho Code in July. The bill creates two new types of felony
crimes, punishable by substantial prison terms, and - most importantly
- defines "new" criminal investigation areas, provides the basis for
opening Ritual Child Abuse cases based upon probable cause, and will
provide a framework for extensive R.C.A. investigation training
throughout the State.
A Layman's Guide to a Successful, First-time Legislative Effort.
By Larry M. Jones
Most File 18 Newsletter readers have not had the opportunity to
actively participate in the lawmaking process in their state's
assemblies or legislatures; neither had we. It was new, confusing, and
sometimes a frustrating prospect. Armed with a compelling issue, good
legislative guidance, and proper preparation success for this kind of
issue was nearly a certainty.
Consider these suggestions for mounting a similar campaign in your
1. Collect background information and make an appointment with a
legislator who is likely to be interested, sympathetic to the issue,
and knowledgeable about the inner workings of the State legislature.
Give yourself plenty of lead-time; your bill will probably need to be
revised a number of times, re-typed, re-evaluated, etc. Contacting at
least one member in each house to carry the bill forward will be
2. Provide the sponsor with a roughed-out draft for consideration.
Don't expect the sponsor to have your perspective, understanding, or
time to do the writing. (Our first draft was long, complex, and
destined for failure because we raised too many ambiguous issues.)
3. Make personal contact with someone on your Legislative Council (the
full-time employees of the legislature who do the bill research,
formatting, word-processing, and 'legalese' wording. Maureen [not our
Maureen...] was an indispensable part of the legislative team who
worked closely with Rep. Elizabeth Allan-Hodge, HB817's sponsor.) The
Legislative Council also has the ability to survey the laws of other
states which may provide ideas, suggest topics you haven't covered,
and lend credibility to the presentation of your bill.
4. Take your semi-final draft to the influential leaders in the house
in which the bill will be first introduced. Give the major Committee
Chairpersons and the best parliamentarians a shot at tearing your
draft apart and offering their criticism...A number of other
experienced 'bill-crafters' helped us clarify wording and put the
polish on the final draft...
5. With your final draft in hand, make yourself available to meet with
key small groups of legislators from the committees which will be
likely to consider the bill. Condense your briefing into a 15-20
minute format...you probably won't be able to capture these busy folk
for much longer than that. This is the time-consuming part; plan to
spend lots of time waiting for 'pick-up meetings' during legislative
breaks, and for committee meetings to end. Your sponsoring legislator
must be aggressive, but tactful, in button-holing lawmakers and
pulling them into impromptu briefings. We personally briefed over 30
legislators this way and left each a packet of printed, explanatory
information with them for later reading.
6. Testimony before the House Judicatory and Rules Committee was our
first experience at formally presenting support for the bill. We
scheduled speakers from law enforcement, treatment, survivor groups,
and a general abuse survivor, after a brief introduction by our
sponsor. Due to a full agenda, the Chairman cut our time to about 20
minutes, requiring last-minute in our panel. We had all met prior to
the hearing to practice the 'protocols' of a committee hearing, and to
work the bugs out of our presentations.
7. The House Jud./Rules Committee unanimously passed the bill to the
floor with no changes. This testifies to the solid preparation we did
before the hearing, as well as to the effectiveness of the
presentations. When the House passed HB817, it was on its way to the
Senate where a mirror-image process occurred.
8. Your presence (and the presence of other interested parties) at
each stage of the proceedings helps make the point that citizens are
aware of such legislation and want to see it succeed. In addition, we
collected endorsement letters (from a broad base of agencies,
including: school districts, counsellors, police and sheriffs, the
Idaho Dept. of L.E., and treatment hospitals) which were distributed
to all the lawmakers on the committees. Of course, call and letters
from private persons always help.
END OF FILE 18 QUOTE.
And you can bet your life that allowing for differences in legislative
procedure and structure between the State of Idaho and the United
Kingdom, this is just how Reachout & co are going about influencing
Dame Knights committee with a view to defining new areas of criminal
And this is the important thing: there are already laws in Idaho
against murder, rape, assault, indecent assault, etc.. Why then
legislate against these things in the context of "occult crime".
Simple! If the law recognises "occult crime" then "probable cause"
(reasonable suspicion here in the U.K.) could be applied to ANYBODY
who has ANYTHING to do with occultism, or indeed, what the fundies are
fond of calling (in their "I'm only concerned for the children" mode)
If you are reading this, THAT MEANS YOU.
Fancy the knock on the door at four a.m. being totally justified under
the law because you've got a copy of "Magick in Theory & Practice" on
your bookshelves? Of course you don't.
But the Americans are in general a bit strange: any nation that makes
murder against the law but permits 300,000,000 handguns to be in
private hands just has to be given to odd legislation. We're different
here in the United Kingdom, aren't we? It just couldn't happen here,
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank