Nebraska lawmakers are in the midst of proposing two separate bills in response to the Hannah Montana ticket controversy. Under current state law, there are no price stipulations on resold tickets, however, the city of Omaha has an ordinance which makes it illegal to resell tickets within a half mile of an event venue.
Throughout 2007, several states relaxed their ticket resale laws, an obvious concession to the Internet Age because online ticket brokers have radically changed the landscape, making it difficult to enforce prior restrictions that prohibited reselling. But almost as soon as states began allowing unfettered ticket resale, there were skirmishes between brokers, fans, concert promoters and others over pricing and ticket availability, or a lack there of in some cases, which seemed to coalesce around the wildly popular Hannah Montana tour.
The first bill, spearheaded by State Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha, would allow performers, producers, and promoters the opportunity to sue anyone found to be scalping tickets to their events. This provision would make Nebraska unique, as one of the few states offering a way to take action against ticket scalping rather than simply making it an illegal activity. In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Howard described her motivation as centered on giving consumers a fair chance at buying tickets. Howard also stressed that by allowing the performers to sue the offenders may finally lead to tangible consequences and further protection of the consumer.
The second bill, introduced by State Sen. Kent Rogert of Tekamah, is quite similar to several other bills that have recently been introduced into state legislatures throughout the country. The bill would take action against those using software “bots” in order to buy up large groups of tickets over the web. Under the bill, those caught using the technology would be liable to legal action if they are caught.
Both bills were slated to be discussed publicly today, Feb. 13, with mothers affected by the Hannah Montana ticket debacle among those set to testify in favor of the bills. However, not everyone in Nebraska is in support of the bill. Richard Dixon, president of Omaha’s Qwest Center, asserts in an interview with the Journal Star that legislative changes won’t hamper the problem of ticket scalping. “Senator Howard’s bill won’t help,” Dixon told the paper. “It won’t stop it either. (Ticket scalpers) are very resourceful . . . And we can do this without state legislation.”