BEAT-THE-CLOCK-TIME ON CAPITOL HILL FOR ANTITRUST BILLS
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.