Above: Democratic State Representative Bruce Morris, who introduced the legislation
A unique coalition consisting of Connecticut Democrats and Republicans, as well as African-American leadership came together to support the passage of a bill guaranteeing transparency for entertainment and sports fans in Connecticut. As a result, the bill, HB7114, “An Act Concerning the Sale of Entertainment Event Tickets on the Secondary Market”, passed with overwhelming support in both the Senate and the House, and was signed on Tuesday by Governor Dannel Malloy.
Democratic State Representative Bruce Morris, former Chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and current Deputy House Speaker, led the effort by first submitting the bill for consideration in the state legislature. When Rep. Morris submitted the bill, he wrote that he hoped it would “prohibit restrictions on the consumer resale of tickets and encourage competition and lower ticket prices for consumers.” Through his role in leadership, he helped to shepherd the bill through the process.
African-American leader Scot X. Esdaile, a long-serving president of NAACP Connecticut and recently gubernatorial appointed Chair of the Connecticut Boxing Committee, submitted testimony to the General Law Committee in support of the bill. “It is important to our sport that the ticketing industry has transparency, and especially that tickets are transferability,” he said. “Fans should not be penalized or discriminated against because their tickets were transferred, sold or purchased on a platform different than the one used by the original ticket seller. This bill is good for the sport of boxing and for the fans in Connecticut.”
The U.S. Minority Ticketing Group (USMTG), a national association supporting minorities in the ticketing industry including brokers, performers, and marketers, also played a critical role in the bill’s passage. The organization’s members called and wrote legislators declaring their support for the bill.
While many votes on similar transparency bills fall along party lines, with Republicans supporting while Democrats oppose (such as a recent vote on a similar law in New York), this bill’s support was almost unanimous. Senator Kevin Witkos, a Republican and Chair of the General Law Committee, as well as a Republican Rep. Tami Zawistowski, signed onto Morris’ bill as main sponsors when it was voted out of the committee. It was voted through with nearly 94% of the legislature voting in favor of the measure.
A similar law passed with strong bipartisan support in Virginia earlier this year.
This Connecticut coalition of African-Americans, Democrats and Republicans, with support from the leadership of South Windsor’s TicketNetwork, could serve as a guide for the development of similar partnerships throughout the country in the future.
We all owe them thanks in protecting property rights. Send them an email.
Rep Bruce Morris, 140th Dist., [email protected]
Sen. Kevin D. Witkos, 8th Dist., [email protected]
Rep. David A. Baram, 15th Dist., [email protected]
Rep. Tami Zawistowski, 61st Dist., [email protected]
Rep. Tom Delnicki, 14th Dist., [email protected]
Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, 31st Dist., [email protected]
Rep. Emmett D. Riley, 46th Dist., [email protected]
Rep. Joseph C. Serra, 33rd Dist., [email protected]
Sen. George S. Logan, 17th Dist., [email protected]