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The Post  
 
Music Community Upset over Squilla Bill; PA Senate Approves Kane Vote; Philly Looking into Drones
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 01/27/16 10:45 pm | updated: 02/01/16 6:31 am
 
Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a bill last week that will now head to a committee hearing amending Section 9-703 of The Philadelphia Code entitled "Special Assembly Occupancies." This section deals with the regulation and licensing of venues and promoters. This regulation is usually taken care of by L&I but is being expanded to include the Philadelphia Police. Besides some expected regulations, there are a few provisions in this Bill No. 160016 that have concert goers, venue owners, promoters, and musicians upset. The most contentious is a requirement that full names, phone numbers, and addresses of all entertainers (bands, DJs, rappers, etc.) be submitted to the Philadelphia Police prior to any event. Venue owners must also update police with details about every event planned. The license fee has also been increased from $100 annually to $500 biannually. The intention is supposedly to monitor crime and public safety patterns around certain acts and be able to shut down or plan response to problematic shows. PPD should be able to do that without collecting everyone's personal information upfront. Besides the bureaucratic nightmare it would create for the city, many acts (touring national acts included) will decline to play the city. On a bright side, the PPD could publish a fairly comprehensive concert calendar/event guide.

SEE ALSO: Councilman Squilla Responds to Criticism
Additional thoughts added below...

READ the BILL | SIGN the PETITION | CONTACT the COUNCILMAN

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A Special Senate committee voted 4-3 along party lines recommending that the full Senate should taken a vote on whether or not to remove Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The Senate could vote to remove Kane under a constitutional provision call Senate or direct address. Two-thirds majority would be needed. The committee also recommended that no action be taken until the state Supreme Court rules on Kane's request to reinstate her law license. Her license was suspended in October. The Special Committee focused on whether she could perform her duties as Attorney General without a valid law license.

Philadelphia Controller Alan Butkovitz said today that the city is looking into how drones can help city workers perform their jobs better. He cited numerous examples of how drones could help certain departments including a test run by L&I in December. The drone was flown over several buildings and spotted missing roofs, faulty structures, etc. They were able to cover a whole city block in less time. He suggested that Fire/EMS, Streets, SEPTA, and Parks and Recreation could also benefit from using the tool to enhance their current operations. Butkovitz stressed that the drones would not replace inspectors but could help them do their job safe and more efficient. You can find more at: http://www.philadelphiacontroller.org

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Clear skies, temperatures dropping through the 30s this evening, 19 overnight in Center City

 
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(1) response

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 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 02/01 6:31 am
 
Additional thoughts on the Bill 160016:

Bill 160016 contains amendments to an already existing piece of the Philadelphia Code (9-703) and Yes, it may seem like just another fee/license that businesses have to pay and more bureaucracy to track it. Most of the license deals with the safety of the building and owner's responsibilities. I guess the theory is that establishments that routinely attract crowds larger than 50 for entertainment purposes need a special occupancy license over and above just a regular occupancy license because of all the people crammed inside dancing can cause problems with safety.

The bill doesn't have anything to do with broadcasting/streaming a performance FROM the venue or specifically receiving and rebroadcasting a Live remote broadcast. It also doesn't have anything to do with royalties due to performing rights organizations (PROs) like ASCAP or BMI. Any place that publicly plays music owes the PROs money.

This special event occupancy license is meant for places that play amplified music with the intent for dancing. The current law only says DJs and live entertainment. Venues have found a loophole and avoided getting the license by only playing music from satellite services, iPods, or STREAMING from Pandora, Spotify, etc. This updated bill closes that loophole by including all places that are playing recorded music regardless the source. It uses streaming music as an example of a source.

The part of collecting the names of performers has nothing to do with closing the recorded music loophole. However, it is the most contentious part of the bill and the part that Squilla says will be removed after all this outrage. Squilla said the loophole was the original intention.

Originally, they had hoped venues would collect personal contact information of both performers and promoters for every event and make that information available to police. Police would use that information to establish patterns of crime and threats to public safety surrounding certain venues, promoters, and acts. Police could then directly reach out to those parties following incidents at the event, and prepare for possible incidents at upcoming events. One example would be to followup with promoters who plaster concert posters on telephone poles and don't remove them. If they had contact information from the event they could easily track the parties down.

The police have come out and said that they don't want anything to do with approving shows or to be the censor police. That language will be removed.

Reportedly, the bill will be amended to remove language requiring the collection of artist's information. Venues may still need to keep only the promoter's information on file at the venue, that also assumes the promoter could get in contact with the performers. In case of an incident, the police would ask for the promoter's contact information if needed as part of an investigation.

The increase in fee from $100 annually to $500 biannually was also met with resistance. That fee increase will probably come down.
 

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