You are reading

State Senate Passes Gianaris’ Anti-Trust Bill That Targets Big Tech

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (NY Senate Media Services)

June 8, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The State Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Gianaris Monday that would broaden the state’s antitrust laws and give them more teeth.

The legislation, dubbed the “21st Century Antitrust Act,” would make it easier for the state and private industry to fight large corporations that monopolize the market and engage in anti-competitive practices.

Gianaris said that he aims to reform the state’s antitrust laws to bring them up-to-date with the current times.

“Our antitrust laws were written a century ago for a radically different economy and they are in desperate need of reform,” he said in a statement. “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, Gianaris said, antitrust laws require two parties to conspire to manipulate the economy before enforcement actions can begin. In today’s economy, however, major commercial players—particularly big tech companies—successfully manipulate the market unilaterally by exerting dominance, he says.

His bill would forbid a company that has a dominant market share from abusing that position in what is known as an “abuse of dominance” standard. For example, some tech companies have temporarily undercut competitors’ prices at a loss to drive them out of business or force them to sell, Gianaris said.

The legislation would provide the State Attorney General with the necessary scope to file suit against companies in violation of the new law. Additionally, the legislation would open the door for plaintiffs to file class action lawsuits.

“We have a problem in this country,” Gianaris said during a Zoom press conference. “We have a problem that there’s tremendous market power in very very few hands and it is being abused to the detriment of the public.”

“Small startups and medium-sized businesses don’t have the opportunity to grow and innovate because they are being squashed by the big players who are abusing some of the tactics that they have at their disposal in a modern economy,” he said.

The bill has been praised by labor unions, small business owners and even some larger companies like Yelp that say it would protect workers at smaller firms and stop anticompetitive practices.

“This bill is epic,” said Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor and progressive activist.

“The abuse [by] big corporate monopolies of both workers and small businesses is truly out of control,” she said, adding that the new law would gives the state the tools necessary to rein big companies in.

However, some pro-business and tech industry leaders say the bill would lead to unnecessary lawsuits and stifle growing companies.

The Business Council of New York issued a statement saying the “dominant position” standard is too vague.

“The vagueness of this definition leaves it very poorly tailored to the problem it was meant to solve, and creates an enormous risk that the statute will be applied in an untold number of additional circumstances that the drafters of the legislation probably never intended,” the group wrote.

The bill passed the Senate 43 to 20 Monday, but will need to be passed in the State Assembly by the end of the legislative session this week and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to become law.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

3 men sought for armed robbery in East Elmhurst home invasion near LaGuardia Airport: NYPD

The NYPD is looking for three men who allegedly robbed an East Elmhurst man of tens of thousands of dollars during a home invasion early Monday morning.

Police from the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights responded to a 911 call of an armed robbery at a townhouse located at 108-09 Ditmars Blvd. near 29th Avenue just south of LaGuardia Airport.
The victim had pulled up in front of his home just before 2 a.m. when he was approached by three suspects. One of them pulled out a firearm and forced him inside the townhouse where they stole around $30,000 in cash and a safe that contained an unspecified amount of jewelry, before exiting and driving off in a silver four-door SUV, police said.

Brooklyn man charged with manslaughter, DWI, for Astoria collision that killed his wife: DA

New details have emerged in the case against a Brooklyn man who allegedly crashed into several cars in Astoria last week while driving drunk, and then drove off in the wrecked vehicle to a residential block in Maspeth four miles away with a gravely injured passenger. The passenger turned out to be his wife, who later died, and the boozed driver told investigators that the couple was being followed when the collision occurred, according to the criminal complaint.

Rey Perez, 27, of Caton Avenue in Flatbush, was arraigned on Friday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and other crimes for speeding through stop signs last Thursday morning, crashing into another vehicle and two parked cars, before speeding from the scene to Maspeth where he sought help for his wife, 29-year-old Bridget Enriquez, who later succumbed to her injuries.

Woman sought for slashing cabbie during a robbery near LaGuardia Airport: NYPD

Police are searching for a woman who attacked a cab driver in East Elmhurst during a robbery more than two weeks ago.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 11 after the cabbie picked up the suspect in Manhattan. The driver told investigators that the woman initially wanted to be taken to LaGuardia Airport but instead decided to be dropped off  nearby in front of 89-00 23rd Ave. at around 2 a.m.