[Editors’ note: In anticipation of the upcoming legislative session, RTP will occasionally report on pending issues of interest. Generally, we will decide what is interesting and what is not. But if our readers think they have a good issue, send it on to the Rocky Top Politics Tip Line: http://firstname.lastname@example.org. If we like it, we’ll report on it. If we don’t, too bad. Get your own blog.]
Some Folks Never Learn.
Over the past couple of sessions, a relatively obscure bill with the potential to affect thousands of Tennesseans has been presented and defeated. The bill was submitted on behalf of those nice people at TicketMaster. Along with the affiliated LiveNation mega entertainment combine, they convinced a couple of naïve (pliable?) legislators to introduce a bill they claimed would stop the hated “ticket scalping.” Of course the LiveNation folks never bothered to tell folks that LiveNation holding back primo tickets is one of the major reasons there are fewer tickets available for concerts, but we digress.
After convincing Rep. Ryan Haynes to sponsor their bill in the house and Sen. Ken Yager to do the same in the senate, the LiveNation/Ticketmaster lobbyists went to work. After winning a couple scrimmages in committee, the crack lobbyists then proceeded to completely blow their chances by allowing the opposition (StubHub, etc.) to turn the whole debate into a property rights issue.
Enter conservatives such as Steve Gill, Americans for Prosperity, Nashville Tea Party and others who rallied the Tea Parties and others of like mind, to openly oppose the LiveNation attempts at confiscation of concert-goers’ personal property – their tickets. Haynes blinked while whining about the Tea Party types (which reminds us: How did you avoid a primary opponent, Ryan? Oh well, there’s always 2016). Yager refused to follow Haynes over the cliff, and the bill died in embarrassing defeat.
So end of story, right? Nope.
Unbelievably, Ticketmaster is seriously considering bringing up a similar bill this coming session. Their head of government relations, Becky Relic (who flipped over from the same job at competitor EBay last year after matriculating from the Chuck Cagle School of Situational Ethics) was in Nashville recently looking to gin up another fight. Apparently Ticketmaster (and their bill sponsors) are gluttons for punishment. But have no fear! The same Ticketmaster maladroit lobbyists may be back on the job! Tom Lee, a Democrat lobbyist (in a super-majority Republican legislature) hasbeen signed up again for another charge of the Pickett variety. And this time he has reinforcements, by golly. In an effort to take the Dem-stink off his resume, Tom hired none other than former Republican legislator Debra “0-2” Maggart. RTP readers will remember Debra “I Heart Common Core” Maggart as the disgraced politician who managed to spend hundreds of thousands of GOP caucus money while getting her butt whipped in the double digits by political novice Courtney Rogers; and then followed up this primary season with another failed attempt to beat her nemesis by proxy.
Yep. I bet those guys at StubHub are really scared now… Is the GOP leadership anxious for another caucus splitting fight over a bill that doesn’t do anything to help anybody but Ticketmaster – and their lobbyists?