GOP lawmaker to offer bill revoking MLB’s antitrust exception
Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan (S.C.) on Friday said that he will propose a bill to remove Major League Baseball’s antitrust law exemption following the league’s decision to pull its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of the state’s new controversial voting law.
Duncan, shortly after MLB unveiled its decision Friday afternoon, tweeted, “In light of @MLB’s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception.”
In a follow-up tweet, he added, “An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law.”
An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) April 2, 2021
Baseball antitrust exemptions have been in place since a 1922 Supreme Court decision, though they have been updated several times.
Under the 1998 Curt Flood Act passed by Congress, MLB players maintain the same rights as other professional athletes under antitrust laws, but other aspects of the sport are exempt, including franchise relocation and broadcast negotiations.
Georgia last month signed into law several new voting restrictions in the state, including requiring a photo ID to participate in absentee voting, limiting the number of ballot drop box locations and banning people other than election workers from giving out food or drink within 150 feet of polling places, including to those waiting in line to vote.
Republicans have defended the law as a means to restore confidence in the state’s election system, especially after the repeated unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election from former President Trump and his allies.
However, Democrats have condemned the legislation, arguing that it disproportionately targets voters of color, who turned out in record numbers in recent elections to secure electoral wins for Democratic candidates.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the legislation within a week of its enactment, and calls have grown for boycotting businesses in the Peach State that have failed to condemn the law.
Many also called on the MLB to move the July 13 All-Star Game out of Georgia, prompting MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to make the announcement Friday following conversations with teams and players.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said in a statement, adding that the decision to move the game is “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
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