MEMO IN OPPOSITION: S.933-A/S.1812A Antitrust Legislation in NY
Date: June 7, 2021
MEMO IN OPPOSITION
Antitrust Legislation in NY
MACNY – The Manufacturers Association opposes S.933-A (Gianaris) / A.1812A (Dinowitz), which would amend the state’s General Business Law’s provision regarding perceived monopolies.
The General Business Law, also referred to as the Donnelly Act, was adopted in 1899 and modeled on the federal Sherman Antitrust Act. It bans contracts or other forms of agreements that either result in a monopoly “in the conduct of any business or in the furnishing of any service, or that restrains trade” or that otherwise result in a constraint of trade. Today, modern application of antitrust law is focused on addressing anti-competitive conduct and its impact on consumers.
MACNY represents more than 300 manufacturing companies and other businesses of all sizes throughout the Central New York region. As an association representing such businesses, we support the importance of our antitrust laws in helping to promote healthy competition in a free market and to foster economic growth and innovation. This proposed legislation could result in an extraordinary expansion of the state’s antitrust law, create significant uncertainly for businesses, and lead to adverse consequences for businesses and consumers alike.
The proposed bill provides a lack of guidance as to what constitutes a “dominant position,” and it does not provide specifics on what would constitute the abuse of such position. A narrow market definition could make a small or medium sized business dominant, allowing a plaintiff to argue that the business is dominant in its market, and therefore, the conduct is abusive.
This legislation also would extend the Act’s provisions to single entity activity and subject those activities to criminal enforcement. It would create a new category for unlawful behavior and increase criminal penalties so that any act deemed unlawful would constitute a Class C felony. While it is important for antitrust laws to be enforced against anti-competitive conduct, the resulting vague and broad provisions of this bill would allow enforcement and penalties against business conduct that is clearly pro-competitive.
The intent of this legislation may focus on the largest tech companies, but its impact could be felt across all business sectors in Central New York and the state. For the above-stated reasons, MACNY opposes the legislation.