By Michael Cerio

Earlier this week, a new bill introduced by Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla received scorn from the city’s music industry and concert goers. The proposal was reported to require venue operators to provide names, addresses, and phone numbers of performers that could at any time be handed over to Philadelphia Police – creating not only a registry of sorts, but also the potential to deter bands and DJs from performing in the city. There was also worry that police would be given the power to preemptively shut down a performance based on concerns. It was blasted as an affront to civil liberties and a hindrance to the vibrant music scene of Philadelphia.

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Councilman Squilla has heard the outcry, and says it was misunderstood and he will strip that aspect from the bill.

“There was some language added to ask for names and addresses of performers in case there was an issue with an event, that they would know who to contact, but we’re hearing that’s a major concern from a lot of performers and venues, and that would be easily amended out and it doesn’t effect the intent of the bill” explains Squilla. “By amending it out it would still keep the bill in place and I think if that was a major concern, I think we can all work together to having the bill pass successfully.”

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According to Squilla, the intent of this bill was not to track artists or preemptively shut down a show, but rather to license establishments that were functioning as a “nightclub” without a DJ or band. “It’s an amendment to the current special assembly license that is needed by venues that have dancing, live music, or performances” describes Squilla. “The intent of the bill was to fix a loophole where we had some nightclubs and dance clubs avoiding the license by saying they didn’t have live performers or DJs. What they would do is actually use their iPhones or iPads and therefore circumventing the need for the license. What this bill’s intent was to close that loophole that even if they use those type of things they would still need the license.”

For Squilla, the aim of the bill was never to create a registry, or to give police any kind of veto power over potential shows. “That’s not even in the bill so I don’t know where that came from” says Squilla of the police’s power to stop a performance because of concerns. “They never had that power, they would not even have that power under this legislation, but a blogger had put that out there that that was the case. What we’ve actually been doing is actually sending the bill out so people can read it and see that’s not in there.”

Squilla says the administration, or the Mayor’s Office is responsible for the language in the bill that has gotten so many upset – yet he has the power to strip the language out. “Since I introduced it and I’m the one that seems to be getting the heat on it, I absolutely have the power. It will be done.”

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To hear more from Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla, listen to the full interview below.