The Town Crier had the honor of being invited to the capital to shadow Representative J.D. Rossetti as he went about his day, giving insight into the daily life of a Washington Lawmaker. In the last issue of the Town Crier after Rep. Rossetti brought a new house bill forward in a meeting with the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, after which it was time that he head out of this meeting and into the next, though the meeting was not over. Rossetti finished presenting and turned and left the room directly out of the closest door, as one of the security personnel came over to warn me that I needed to follow. I sprinted down the hall and caught up with Rep. Rossetti to find him opening the door to the next conference room, where the Tech and Economic Development Committee was in a hearing to discuss a new bill that is being worked on called House Bill 2699. The Tech and Economic Development Committee is chaired by Rep. Jeff Morris of the District 40.
Tech and Economic Development Committee Staff Member Nikkole Hughes elaborated on what House Bill 2699 was: "This bill relates to the sale of software used in the unauthorized interference of ticket sales over the internet. During the 2015 legislative session this committee heard and voted out of committee House Bill 1091, which was later signed into law as engrossed House Bill 1091. This bill established the user sale of software with the purpose of interfering with or disrupting the operation of internet ticket sales as an unfair or deceptive act in an unfair method of competition for the purposes of defying the state Consumer Protection Act," said Hughes. The Staff Member went on to explain that currently the user sale of ticketbot software is only a violation of the Consumer Protection Act if the user or seller knows or should know that the purpose of the software is to interfere with or disrupt ticket sales over the internet. Hughes further added that this bill removes the exception that the sale of the malicious ticketbot software is only a violation of the Consumer Protection Act if the seller should know about the software and instead provides that a seller of the ticketbot software violates the Consumer Protection Act only if he or she knows or markets that the purpose of the software is to circumvent, interfere, or evade a security measure access control system on a ticket-seller website.
The representatives were careful of the language they used to designate who could be prosecuted in this process, because they did not want to scare away potential laborers looking to write code. One of the representatives asked a question about the bill, inquiring if the bill was undoing anything laws that they passed last year did. Hughes responded by specifying what exactly is different, "Representative Tarleton, this bill just amends the bills you're talking about from last year. Instead the bill that the legislature passed last year said that a ticket seller must 'know or should know' the purpose of the software and this bill, 2699, states that the ticket seller must 'know or market the purpose of the software as ticketbot software' in order to violate the Consumer Protection Act." After tabling the House Bill so that it could be further amended before it is approved, Chairman Morris closed the meeting with a statement: "These are difficult investigations and prosecutions and at this point nobody has been civilly prosecuted because of this act and we believe it is premature to amend the statute to make it harder to go after the users of the ticketbots."
After the meeting it was time for Rep. Rossetti to go out onto the House Floor in the Legislative Building to weigh in on some high profile bills that were scheduled to be dealt with that day, one of which included the hearing that pertained to the repealing of the transgender bathroom rule that is a current pressing issue. I was unable to go out onto the House Floor and so my day shadowing Rep. Rossetti had come to an end as I thanked him and we shook hands and parted ways.