Pisciottano announces Open Markets Act to protect small businesses, consumers and workers in PA

Legislation would strengthen antitrust laws, prohibit monopolistic tactics

HARRISBURG, Nov. 20 – As the beginning of the holiday shopping season looms, state Rep. Nick Pisciottano today announced a new bill designed to help small businesses compete with large corporations and prevent monopolistic consolidation that harms workers and consumers.

The Pennsylvania Open Markets Act would prohibit companies from engaging in anti-competitive behaviors, such as artificial price fixing disguised as inflation. Additionally, it would empower the state attorney general to investigate companies attempting to monopolize, increase penalties for antitrust violations and require pre-merger notification for certain business consolidation transactions.

Without an antitrust statute, Pisciottano argues Pennsylvania has limited powers to uncover evidence of anti-competitive behavior and lacks the ability to recover damages for the commonwealth and consumers even in the most egregious instances of illegal, monopolistic behavior.

“Unlike most states, Pennsylvania does not have its own antitrust statute,” said Pisciottano, D-Allegheny. “I am a firm believer that open, fair competition is the engine of the American economy and corporate consolidation across many industries throughout the country over the past few decades has hurt small businesses' and workers' ability to compete. This legislation is necessary to restore Pennsylvania’s marketplace to one that is healthy, competitive and innovative.”

Pisciottano said the bill would also help strengthen the supply chain and bring jobs that have been offshored back to Pennsylvania.

“Local companies hire local workers. Large corporations hire the cheapest labor they can find, often overseas, which significantly weakens our supply chain. When a corporation uses its dominant market share and unfair tactics to drive out smaller competitors, the businesses that close are not the only ones who lose. Such actions also negatively impact workers who get paid less and consumers who end up paying higher prices, too. To level the playing field, Pennsylvania needs to implement protections like the ones the Open Markets Act would provide. By adopting the Open Markets Act to create a more fair marketplace in Pennsylvania, we can encourage entrepreneurship, corporate investment and economic growth throughout the commonwealth for all Pennsylvanians."

Pisciottano plans to introduce the Open Markets Act soon.