A proposed update to the law governing live event ticketing in New York proposed by Sen. James Skoufis (D) has been passed out of committee in the senate, and will now be considered by the full chamber. Now, the state’s two chambers will likely need to determine which direction they wish to take – and they have precious little time to do so, with the session closing in early June.
Effectively, there are currently three paths that the future of ticketing in New York can take, with its existing laws set to expire this year. One option is a straight extension of the existing laws, which we broke down in 2018 here. Option two is Skoufis’ proposed bill, which we broke down here. The third option would be… no action at all, in which case, the protections for consumers against cancellations for tickets that have been resold, the legal framework for ticket broker licenses, the requirement that cancelled events lead to refunds for consumers over credits issued from the ticketing vendor… all go away.
According to TicketNews sources, the New York State Assembly is aiming towards a straight extension, while the Senate is rallying behind the Skoufis bill. The Investigations and Government Operations Committee voted 5-1 to pass the bill proposed by Skoufis. The lone “no” vote was Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-58th). Yes votes to pass the bill came from Sen. Skoufis, Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-34th), Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-9th), Sen. James Gaughran (D-5th), Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D-38th), with Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-1st) voting yes, with reservations. Should the partisan split of the committee be reflected in the full vote, that would bode well for the bill, as the Democratic party holds a 43-20 majority.
Largely, consumer advocates have sided with the upper chamber, due to the belief that the additional steps taken in the new bill bring a vast set of new consumer advantages that currently don’t exist in the state. While New York does have several important protections in place now, many (including Skoufis) argue that they don’t go far enough, particularly with companies like Live Nation seeking to tighten its grip on the ticket ecosystem in the post-COVID rebuilding of the event space, using tools that are nakedly anti-competitive and designed to leave their ticketing systems as the only show in town.
“(The) Ticketmasters of the world want to perpetuate a system that allows them to continue fleecing hardworking New Yorkers,” said Skoufis, chair of the state Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee. It’s time, he said, “to put an end to the outright thievery that consumers face on a daily basis.”
“The live event capital of the United States, New York, is reopening, whether it is sporting events, Broadway is due to reopen soon, concerts, the live event industry is reopening. It is also timely because the state’s ticketing laws are due to expire on July 1, so the next month or so are going to determine whether we want to be fan friendly or insider friendly as the live event capital of the nation,” he said.
With an eye towards the July 1 expiration date and the June 10 end of the current legislative session, the editorial board of The Daily Gazette recently published an editorial urging the passage of the Skoufis bill, which they say “will shift the pendulum back toward consumers and away from the promoters and entertainment conglomerates.”
The bill needs an Assembly sponsor, and if it’s going to get passed before July 1, lawmakers need to get on it before the legislative session ends on June 10.
This is important consumer legislation that’s arriving just when old legislation is set to expire and when New Yorkers will want to be flocking back to live events.
A fast-turnaround to get this legislation passed will be a challenge, but it will be worth it.
What is your take? Share your comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – or you can share your thoughts with the state legislators making the decision by commenting on the bill here: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s6716