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Lawmakers to consider event ticket bill

Mary Hinds • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM

The state Legislature will take up several issues in the New Year, many of which could affect the lives of people in Wilson County.

One law that will be considered will seek to place new rules on the ticket resale market.

The proposal, known as the "Fairness in Ticketing Act," would require ticket brokers to register with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Brokers would be required to disclose the face value of tickets, location of seats, the refund policy and more.

Supporters of the law, including performers, concert halls, sports venues and companies like Ticketmaster, argue the law is necessary to eliminate professional scalpers, who buy tickets in bulk and resell them.

Critics of the measure argue the act would strip consumers of property rights, denying them the ability to decide how they can sell or even give away tickets, while also giving brokers like Ticketmaster more power. Opposition is led by the Fan Freedom Project, an advocacy group created last year.

State Sen. Mae Beavers, R- Mt. Juliet, is wary of the act which she fears could infringe on the individual rights of ticket buyers.

"They don't want you to be able to resell a ticket," Beavers said. "It could impact anyone who buys a ticket and wants to give it away."

Beavers said the world of ticket sales has a lot of hidden pitfalls, with some ticket companies selling a limited number of tickets to the general public at a low advertised price while holding back the best seats and selling them on websites for high prices.

"Most everyday people don't have enough money to buy the good seats," she said.

Moreover, Beavers said that the state dictating what an individual does with their own property is their concern.

"Once you buy a ticket, what you do with it is your own business," she said.

The Legislature has several other items on tap for 2013, including proposals to lower the sales tax on food, overhauling workers compensation, the possible expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee and school vouchers

Regardless of the issues, the GOP is certain to have its way, with both the Senate and the House enjoying supermajorities - the ability to pass legislation without a single Democratic vote - and Republican Bill Haslam in the governor,s office.

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