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Wisconsin ticket resale law tabled in the legislature

By Kelly McWilliams

Wisconsin lawmakers’ efforts to pass a ticket resale bill have hit a snag in the state’s Assembly. The bill would have made it harder for unauthorized ticket resellers to operate freely at various venues in the state.

Current state law allows municipalities to outlaw the sale of tickets for more than face value, but selling at or below face value remains legal. A Milwaukee city ordinance outlaws selling tickets for more than face value outside of stadiums before and after games, but in order to manage heavy scalping activity, the Milwaukee Brewers had set up a zone for scalpers to sell above face value close to game time.

However, those who were selling at and under face value could legally position themselves anywhere outside the stadium, and Brewer fans were complaining of scalpers harassing them as they arrived for games. Team officials had urged Wisconsin legislators to enact this bill, which they hoped would help to create a more fan-friendly atmosphere at the stadium.

The bill, if passed, would have allowed authorities to create and enforce specific resale zones around various Wisconsin area venues, including the Brewers’ Miller Park and the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field. It also would have given cities control over where and when tickets could be resold at or below face value, with fines for violators starting at $10 and increasing to $500.

The bill passed the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, March 2, but met with resistance in the Assembly, where some legislators expressed concerns that such a bill would make it harder for fans to resell their tickets. As State Rep. Mary Hubler, a Democrat, explained to Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel, “The reality is that mom and pop from the family come with an extra ticket and they want to get rid of it. Why do we want to create lawbreakers?”

As dissenting legislators began to talk about an amendment allowing fans to sell up to four Brewers or Green Bay tickets anywhere at the stadiums, the Assembly decided to table the bill.

State Rep. Josh Zepnick, another Democrat, co-sponsor of the bill, told the Journal Sentinel that he might try to introduce the bill again next month, emphasizing his ongoing concern about the reported troubles at Miller Park. “It has become a circus around there. Sometimes, you're just getting out of your car and someone is right in front of you trying to sell tickets.”

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