Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla wants to ruin his city’s nightlife. Not on purpose, but that’s exactly what his proposed bill is going to accomplish.
He’s calling for legislation that will require venue management to collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of artists and entertainers. This data would be added to a registry shared with police upon request, and authorities would have de facto veto power over shows with a capacity over 50 persons. The bill even covers live streaming of shows, and it will factor in potentialities for “crime, traffic, litter, noise, parking and hours of operation, and community concerns.” What?
This sounds absurd, and everyone besides those proposing the legislation seem to think so. Not only would it be a gross overstepping of law enforcement, but the reviews would likely serve an undermining agenda, not the community. Mary Catherine Roper, Deputy Legal Director of the Pennsylvania ACLU has this to say about it, “No one can expect the PPD to approach this function the same way that L&I would approach it. They will approach it as another police function, informed by police priorities that may not be appropriate to the task.”
But if it does pass, what else would happen? For one, the license application fee for businesses would raise from $100 per year, to $500 every two years (an increase of $300 over two years). And we all know who that burden falls on – the fans. In the end, the increase in fees translates to more expensive drinks and increased ticket prices.
“This is news to me. I’m not sure what the reasoning or theory is. As someone who books 600+ shows a year, I have never once received an artist’s home address or phone number. It’s all through booking agents, managers, publicists. There is a firewall in place with the artists. I can’t imagine a band’s representatives wanting to give their clients information over to the police without a really good reason.” – Sean Agnew, R5 Productions
Of course there has to be a reason behind all this, Right? Squilla’s logic is this, “Giving performers’ information to police when requested enables them to review past performances to see if there were any public safety issues during their events.” Okay, that’s well and good, but it doesn’t take their personal information to figure out when they played a show. A hearing date hasn’t been chosen yet, but if you’re from Philadelphia, make sure to attend and oppose this ridiculous proposal.
A petition has already been set up on Change.org and has already surpassed its initial goal of 7,500, and is on its way to its next goal of 15,000. Be the next here.
H/T Billy Penn