A Senate panel voted Thursday to approve a bill that would make it illegal for manufacturers to set a minimum resale price for their products.
The legislation, commonly known as the Leegin bill, would overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision that held that manufacturers could set price floors below which retailers cannot sell their products.
The high court ruling in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS reversed a 1911 decision that said such price agreements between manufacturers and retailers violated antitrust laws.
The Senate bill, sponsored by antitrust subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) was approved by the committee by a voice vote. But the vote does not necessarily mean smooth sailing for the measure: Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he opposed the legislation. And the committee’s ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said he has not yet reached a decision on whether to support the bill.
But Democrats praised the legislation as a win for consumers.
“I think this is an important jump. It’s pro-consumer. It restores the law to the way it’s been for decades,” said Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
In a statement at the bill’s introduction last year, Kohl said the Supreme Court decision would lead to higher prices paid by consumers and would hurt the ability of discount retail stores to compete.
The House Judiciary Committee approved a similar bill in January.
Reporting by Andrew Ramonas.