By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Connecticut’s proposed bill to repeal its scalping law will be heard by the state’s General Assembly during the current legislative session, following a move Monday by House Democrats to emergency certify the bill.
Last week, the bill was in legal limbo after the legislature’s General Law Committee meeting ran too long and staffers failed to file the proposal by the deadline to have bills placed on the General Assembly docket. The scalping repeal was one of 18 bills that were not filed on time, but all were emergency certified by the Democrats, which is the legislature’s majority party.
“It could be a few months before it gets to the floor of the General Assembly,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Leonard Greene. The current legislative session ends in early June and specific agenda items have not been determined.
Under the current law, event tickets cannot be resold for more than $3 above face value, unless a broker or agent that receives written authorization from the event venue to sell it for above face value. The proposed bill would repeal that law to make scalping permissible, and it toughens the punishment for the sale of counterfeit tickets and sets a 1,500-foot buffer between scalpers and an event venue. Greene’s proposal also requires brokers to refund a 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.
Next up, the screening committees of both parties will review the bill to determine whether other committees need to look at it before it gets to the floor. Greene said the legislature’s Judiciary and Commerce committees might be in line to review it, because there are penalties involved in addition to potential changes to the marketplace. “At this point, it could be amended at anytime,” Greene said, but added that he had not heard of any legislators possibly altering the bill.
The Connecticut bill has bipartisan support because legislators recognize the ticket resale landscape has changed over the years, in part due to the Internet. Connecticut is the latest in a series of states that are considering repealing their anti-scalping laws, including New York and Minnesota which are both in the midst of reviewing their requirements.