Hazing News

Matt’s Law passes in California

Smith and Moon and others influence bill’ passage: link

Letter from Debbie Smith follows:

Hi Matt Law Supporters

Wow what an emotional day we had yesterday as we waited for our bill to come up in the hearing.  The hearing room was filled with 35 Matt Supporters most dressed in there red and sporting their Matt Badges I paced the corridor outside the hearing room, a tab bit of a wreck hoping to just get through the morning without falling apart, reflecting on the prior days events.  We had spent the day lobbying for Matt’s Law

It seemed to go very well as we visited the offices of the Assembly Members of the Public Safety Committee trying to explain to their assistants the importance of Matt’s Law in hopes of getting a yes vote on Tuesday.  But we had one Assembly Member who actually came out and spoke to us because she wanted us to know how important she thought our bill was and that she believed in it but because it was a third strike felony she was having difficult time because she had vowed to her constituents that she would not vote for a third strike felony.

I loved the fact that she was so honest and felt so strongly about both Matt’s Law and her convictions that she came and spoke to us face to face.  She told us upon leaving that she had a lot of thinking to do that night.  As we left her office I made a vow of my own, to be positive and think positive thoughts so I hoped if we were unable to persuade her the next morning in the hearing that she would just abstain from voting all together and maybe we could come away with a 6 – 0 vote with one abstention.  Of course that was my positive thinking that we had already persuaded the rest.

We walked to the Capitol from our hotel room yesterday morning and all I could think of was please pass Matt’s Law through today, please abstain, please be able to speak, please don’t start crying, my mind was a whirlwind.  We arrived early and went up to Senator Torlakson’s office briefly and when we returned Matt’s Supporters were starting to gather outside the hearing room.  What a wonderful feeling, we had supporters ranging in age from 7 to 80.

When Matt’s Law finally got called we sat in front of the Assembly, our last chance to help them understand how important this law really is.  When we were finished speaking they ask for any of those in support and much to my amazement there was a line of representatives from the organizations that we had written to and called, had not only written their letters in support but had come to verbally give their support.  The tears were streaming down so many faces as voice after voice spoke into the mike stating whom they were representing and that they supported Matt’s Law.

When asked who was opposing there were NONE!  The vote was taken and Matt’s Law passed unanimously. LAST HIST. ACTION:  From committee:  Do pass, but first be re-referred to Com. on  APPR. (Ayes  7. Noes  0.) Re-referred to Com.on  APPR.  Next stop Assembly Appropriations this could take place between now and July 7th if not it will be in August, then the Assembly Floor in August before going to the Governor’s desk in September.

Our next letter writing campaign should be focused on the Assembly Appropriations Committee and this should start today since we are not sure when they may hear our bill.  There are 18 members in this committee and the chair of this committee is…

Judy Chu
State Capitol
PO Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0049

You can find all the committee member’s addresses on Matt’s site or by clicking this link  ACS Frameset7   here are their last names to get you started Chu (Chair), Runner (Vice Chair) Bass, Berg, Calderon, De La Torre, Emmerson, Haynes, Karnette, Klehs, Leno, Nakanishi, Nation, Oropeza, Ridley-Thomas, Saldana, Walters & Yee.

I apologize that I did not write this yesterday but as I stated in the beginning it was an emotional couple of days and by the time I returned home yesterday afternoon I was exhausted.

I wanted to thank everyone again for coming you really made a difference; your support gives me strength and is so appreciated.

If you didn’t notice the FYI above…

DATELINE has scheduled Matt’s story to air this Saturday, June 24th at 8pm provided it is not pre-empted.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone for all your wonderful support without all your hard work we would not be where we are today.  You should be so proud of yourselves this is a good thing you are doing.  Three more stops before our bill is a LAW.

“Hug your children and tell them you love them everyday.”

Debbie, MM

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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