By Alfred Branch, Jr.
A proposed bill to repeal Connecticut’s anti-scalping law received unanimous support Tuesday from the legislative subcommittee overseeing it, but the proposal did not make it to the docket for an eventual General Assembly vote because it was not filed on time.
All 19 members of the state legislature’s General Law Committee approved Bill #5972, which was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Leonard Greene, but the motion was not filed by the 5pm deadline at the Legislative Commissioners’ Office. Lawyers in the office are the ones to draft the correct wording for bills before they reach the floor of the state’s General Assembly for vote. Tuesday was the last day committees could file proposed bills for the current legislative session that ends in June.
The bill to repeal the state’s anti-scalping law was one of 18 bills the General Law Committee unanimously approved Tuesday but that were not filed on time. “It’s a troublesome situation,” said a spokesperson for the committee, adding that such foul-ups are rare. “We’re not sure how we’re going to resolve it.”
Currently, reselling an event ticket in Connecticut for more than $3 above face value is prohibited. A broker or agent that receives written authorization from the event venue can sell it at a price above face value. Greene’s proposed bill repeals the law but toughens the punishment for the sale of counterfeit tickets. In addition, the proposal also calls for brokers to refund the purchaser’s money, including service fees and delivery charges, when an event is cancelled or if for some reason the ticket does not allow entry into the event. Finally, the bill stipulates that scalpers stay at least 1,500 feet away from the venue holding the event.
Greene said that despite the setback the proposal has a strong chance of making it to the floor of the General Assembly. The committee can file a petition by March 20 to have the bills reinstated, or the assembly’s majority party – the Democrats in this case – can draft an emergency certification to move the bills forward. The odds of some sort of resolution are good, in part because there were so many unanimously approved bills that did not make it to the Legislative Commissioners’ Office in time.
“I was told that we apparently missed the deadline by about three seconds,” Greene said.
If the bill makes it to the floor, it will have one more supporter, namely Ticketmaster. Greene said representatives from the company met with him recently to change their stance on the bill and support its passage. At a public hearing in February to discuss the bill, Ticketmaster and State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal opposed the bill because it could hurt consumers and Ticketmaster’s interests.
“They [Ticketmaster] said they changed their stance because the bill does not have a cap,” Greene said, adding that businesses occasionally change their position when they see that a bill has broad support like the repeal motion. The change in position is a tacit acknowledgement that Ticketmaster wants to be on the resale side of ticketing, Greene said. “They wanted to work with us because they realized something was going to happen, and they wanted to be involved.”