A SIGN OF THE TIMES. The Editor has been off on his travels, and while he was in America,

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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 state: 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 important. 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 investigation. 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) "non-traditional" beliefs. 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, could it?

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