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BEAT-THE-CLOCK-TIME ON CAPITOL HILL FOR ANTITRUST BILLS
Published September 29, 1994
The House Judiciary Committee's subcomittee on economic and commercial law approved a "limited" bill aimed at removing baseball's antitrust exemption should the owners unilaterally impose a salary cap with the players on strike. The full Judiciary Commitee is expected to vote on the bill today, and Chairman Jack Brooks (D-TX) has vowed to get the measure out of committee. Rep. Mike Synar (D-OK), who sponsored the bill: "This is an historic day. For the first time in the history of Congress, a subcommittee -- and tomorrow a committee -- has voted to remove an exemption that has existed for over 50 years." However, Synar's bill passed after two "key provisions" desired by the MLBPA were deleted: 1) An automatic injucntion against a salary cap until any lawsuits are decided; 2) The courts would dcided whether the union would have to decertify before a suit could be heard. MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza said the union officials needed to study the changes before reacting (AP/WASHINGTON POST, 9/29). But Orza did say: "The mere fact a bill has been reported out is a major step forward" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/29). Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "Jack Brooks said he was going to do this so nothing about it is surprising" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY), the lone dissenter: "What is Congress doing interfering in a labor dispute when there is no national security interest involved?" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/29). ON THE SENATE SIDE: The developments in the House "offered encouragement" to Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH), who plans to attach a similar bill as an amendment to an appropriations bill for the District of Columbia. That could come today, although one Metzenbaum aide said he may wait until House Judiciary gets its bill out of committee (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). Co-sponsor Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "There's a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes" (AP, 9/29). TODAY: The House Subcommittee on Labor- Management Relations holds a hearing on a bill proposed by Rep. Pat Williams (D-MT) to impose binding arbitration on both sides.