Cornyn, Klobuchar introduce bill to give grants to live music venues
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would provide grants for independent live music venue operators affected by coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
The Save Our Stages Act would authorize $10 billion for a grant program through the Small Business Administration to provide six months of financial support to keep venues afloat and pay employees.
It would narrowly define independent live venue operators, promoters and talent representatives so large corporations could not receive the grants and would make the grants equal to the lesser of either 45 percent of operating costs from the calendar year 2019 or $12 million.
“Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues, many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close,” Cornyn said in a statement. “The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”
The bill would also allow for supplemental grants in the future if funding remains available, permit recipients to use grants for costs incurred during the pandemic and require recipients return remaining funding after one year from the date of disbursement.
The grants can be used for rent, utilities, mortgage, procuring personal protective equipment, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases and capital expenditures related to meeting social distancing guidelines.
“Minnesota’s concert halls, theatres, and places of entertainment, like First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince famously performed, have inspired generations with the best of local music, art, and education,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come.”
The bill is endorsed by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and the National Independent Talent Organization. NIVA is made up of club and concert venue owners that have been calling on Congress to provide venues with tax relief, unemployment insurance, mortgage and rent forbearance, a business recovery fund and existing debt deferral.
The group spearheaded a letter in June to Congress from several hundred musicians and performers to request federal assistance.
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