Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation to take away MLB's antitrust exemption
Legislation comes after MLB announced All-Star Game will be moved out of Georgia because of state’s new voting law
Key Republican lawmakers are set to introduce legislation to strip Major League Baseball of its antitrust exemption.
The legislation would end a special exemption from U.S. antitrust laws that benefited MLB for nearly a century. It comes after the league announced the All-Star Game will be moved out of Georgia because of the state’s new voting law, SB 202.
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The National Pastime is regarded as an "exhibition" and not subject to the Commerce Clause of the Constitution – thanks to a 1922 landmark Supreme Court case.
The Supreme Court ruling stated that the business of Major League Baseball did not constitute "interstate commerce," making it exempt from the Sherman Act, which essentially allowed the sport to monopolize the industry.
The National Football League, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League don’t have the same exemption.
Over the years, lawmakers have used the threat of yanking MLB’s anti-trust exemption when they get upset with the game. Such was the case after the 1994 lockout which canceled the World Series and the steroid scandals of the 2000s.
The legislation could potentially open up the league to antitrust lawsuits from competitors or the government, according to the Washington Post.
Sens. Ted Cruz R-Tex., Josh Hawley R-Mo., and Mike Lee R-Utah, drafted legislation last week that would end that special exemption, the paper reported.
Earlier this month, the league made the decision to relocate the All-Star Game from the Atlanta area after pressure from those who say the voting law, meant to make elections more secure by requiring I.D. for mail-in voting among other changes, actually suppresses the vote.
The "Midsummer Classic" was set for July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, until MLB decided to shift the game to Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies.
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"Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement at the time. "I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft."
The bill’s passage was motivated by suspected voter fraud in Georgia's presidential election — claims that were ultimately rejected as the state's votes were certified in Biden's favor. Republican supporters say the law is needed to restore confidence in Georgia’s elections following the contentious 2020 presidential election and the state's two U.S. Senate runoff elections in January.
Democrats and voting rights advocates say Georgia's new voting law, which Kemp signed March 25, would make it harder for people, particularly those of color, to vote.
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The law was signed months after President Biden’s win over former President Trump in Georgia last November and a Democratic sweep in the state's U.S. Senate runoff elections in January.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and Fox Business's Brie Stimson contributed to this report.