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Councilman under fire for musician registration bill

Councilman Mark Squilla defended a bill regarding special assembly licenses Wednesday.
City Councilman Mark Squilla outside council chambersMetro file photo

Outrage against Philly City Councilman Mark Squilla went viral Wednesday after reports broke suggesting his bill on "special assembly licenses" would require musicians and performers to be registered with the police.

Squilla said it isn't true Wednesday night after the story went viral, 4,600 people signed an online petition opposing the bill andhis public Facebook page was swarmed by commenterswriting messages such as "impeach this walking garbage mound."Philebrityevenpostedposted specificinstructions on how to contact Squilla to complain.

"The bill now contains a provision that venues should obtain performers’ contact information to share with city officials should the need arise, but there is no city approval required for any events nor is a registry of performers being created," Squilla's office said in a statement issued onWednesday evening. " This provision is NOT intended to restrict artistic expression or any kind of entertainment but rather is aimed at addressing public safety and quality of life issues."

That might seem contradictthebill itself,which includes language stating thatvenues will be responsible for providing the"full name, address and phone number of allperformance acts scheduled to perform during the promoted event or special event."

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The billwas introduced at City Council last week. It gives the police department veto power over special assembly licenses (SAOLs)for music and entertainment venuesbased on "crime, traffic, litter, noise, parking and hours of operation; as well as any community concerns."

The story broke on Billy Penn, which quotedpromoter Sean Agnew of R5 Productions as saying, "I’m just trying to think of a situation where the police want the addresses and numbers of the 10+ members of Arcade Fire ...Seems really intense.”

BillyPenn cited a murder last year outside the TLA club, which is in Squilla's district, as a possible motivation for the bill.

But the tide of anger continues. Even after Squilla posted his defense on Facebook, attacks kept rolling in.

"Don't you have anything better to do? This city has so much corruption going on. Why don't you go after L&I?? Leave musicians alone," one wrote.

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