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NY Lawmakers To Hold Big Tech Antitrust Hearing

 |  September 3, 2020

New York lawmakers want to hear from big tech and corporate watchdogs as they weigh modernizing the state’s antiquated antitrust laws, reported New York Daily. 

The State Senate will hold a hearing Sept. 14 to investigate the “rapidly changing and growing power of dominant businesses in the modern economy.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) introduced the “21st Century Antitrust Act,” a bill targeting big tech that would enable the state to take enforcement and legal action against companies engaging in uncompetitive practices such as predatory pricing or leveraging a company’s position to control adjacent markets.

“Our antitrust laws were written a century ago for a radically different economy and they are in desperate need of serious updates,” said Gianaris, a key player in Amazon’s decision to pull out of a proposed Queens headquarters. “Corporate power has reached unprecedented and dangerous levels, and we need powerful new laws to protect the public and our economy.”

Under current state law, antitrust laws require two parties to conspire to manipulate the economy before enforcement actions can occur. Gianaris’ bill would more closely mirror Europe’s stricter standards for monopolies and bad corporate behavior and allow class-action antitrust lawsuits.

The Senate’s consumer protection committee and chairman Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Nassau) will lead the hearing as lawmakers look to figure out whether the companies have used questionable business practices to bully or elbow smaller competitors out of the market and maintain unfair monopolies.

“Investigating this issue is crucial in ensuring that our economy remains competitive, innovation continues to thrive, and consumers are protected,” Thomas said.