LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 30, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed yesterday’s vote by the state House Criminal Justice Committee approving legislation to repeal Michigan’s archaic 83-year-old law criminalizing the resale of event tickets by individuals.

Under a 1931 statute, it is illegal in Michigan to sell any ticket above its written face value without the express consent of the event and venue operators, as well as to resell any season ticket that bears the ticket-holder’s name. R Street Midwest Director Alan Smith noted that current law does not even allow resellers to recoup the cost of convenience fees and extra venue charges, which have come to constitute a significant portion of the cost of event tickets.

“I think the committee was impressed by testimony about the arrests, fines and court costs that have been levied against clergy trying to recoup money spent for event tickets for congregation outings and persons who make small businesses out of packaging away game sports events,” Smith said. “People believe that when they have bought a ticket, they have a right to resell it, whether to make themselves whole or sell to a fan who is more eager to attend the event.”

He added that the legislation — H.B. 5108, sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw – would continue to permit venues and promoters to prescribe rights and duties of lessors and lessees using contract law.

“A university wishing to protect its desire to accord a ticket preference to students and alumni would still able to do that,” Smith said.