How HB 5108 became HB 4015 and the fight for ticket fairness. - Michigan Ticket Fairness

How HB 5108 became HB 4015 and the fight for ticket fairness.

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During October 2013, Michigan sports and entertainment fans saw a representative from Saginaw take the first step towards ticket fairness. After introducing legislation that would later become known as House Bill 5108, Rep. Tim Kelly saw the need to protect Michigan fans from the worst abuses of monopolistic ticket companies.

During October 2013, Michigan sports and entertainment fans saw a representative from Saginaw take the first step towards ticket fairness. After introducing legislation that would later become known as House Bill 5108, Rep. Tim Kelly saw the need to protect Michigan fans from the worst abuses of monopolistic ticket companies.

HB 5108, which would have allowed fans to resell their sports and entertainment tickets at a fair value, sought to eliminate section 750.465 of Michigan’s 1931 penal code – aka Michigan’s anti-scalping law.

Soon after its introduction, HB 5108 was quickly referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice where it would have a hearing – and pass a committee vote – in late January 2014.

 

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(Things looked promising coming out of committee.) 

One month later in late February 2014, the Michigan House of Representatives formally passed HB 5108 by a vote of 66-42. Not only did the bill pass by a solid margin, but it also garnered a considerable amount of bipartisan support.

3.png(The Michigan House passed HB 5108 66-42 on Feb. 27, 2014.)

It became clear that ticket fairness was an important issue to legislators – and things looked great heading into the Senate. 

Quickly, however, HB 5108 was sidelined by a prominent figure in the Senate. The then Senate Majority Leader was intercepted by big ticket companies, universities and even Broadway who influenced his stance on the bill.  HB 5108's promising future began to take a turn for the worst.

HB 5108 was soon referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations – a move that would ultimately lead to the bill’s demise.

At this point, Michigan Ticket Fairness had found its rhythm. The coalition grew steadily as awareness spread, and members actively sent in letters to their legislators. MTF sent foam fingers and “Legislator’s Guides” to senators leading up to HB 5108’s hearing in the fatal committee. 

5108 had the support it needed – from everyone except the most powerful man in the Senate.

5.png 4.png(MTF sent guides & foam fingers – many of which still reside in legislators’ offices – urging them to stand with fans.)

And so – without the support of Senate leadership – HB 5108 died in the lame duck session of the 2013/14 Legislature.

6.png (HB 5108’s shot clock expired in lame duck – although we think there was a technical foul)

Fortunately, all was not lost for HB 5108.. In the first weeks of 2015’s legislative session, it was reincarnated as HB 4015.

Even though HB 4015 was the exact same bill as 5108, the reincarnated bill had to start all over in the legislative process. 

First up, again, was House committee. 4015 quickly passed through the House Committee on Criminal Justice, before passing a full House vote days later. This time around, however, support for ticket fairness had grown and the bill passed by a margin of 70-40. 

Important to note is that an amendment was added to 4015 while on the House floor. The addition targets internet scalping, or “bot,” operations – which was the only "possible" argument against the bill (even though 4015 did not explicitly promote or demote this issue as it stood).

Unfortunately, that’s where our story stops – for the moment. HB 4015 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce – a much better placement than 5108’s assignment – that is chaired by a legislator who previously voted in support of 5108 while in the House.

HB 4015's future is looking good.

All that’s left to do is start the Senate committee process. Michigan Ticket Fairness is confident that legislators will recognize the core issues that HB 4015 address; specifically personal property rights and free market economics.

Opponents do not have a leg to stand on against the bill – aside from possible loss of revenue. (sorry, Ticketmaster. Property rights and free markets hold higher importance over loss of revenue in the eyes of current legislators. 

This could be the time that Michigan fans finally see some fairness.

BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP. If you haven’t yet, send a letter via our website – it takes one minute. OR, better yet, email the Senate Majority Leader directly urging him to support HB 4015 and to stand with fans.

We can do this – but not without your help.

 

  • The Team at Michigan Ticket Fairness

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