Like so many things in the world these days, it started with an attempt to buy tickets to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour in Minneapolis.

Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, was ready to pounce on tickets in November 2022. But she didn't get an access code and was frozen out of the hours-long wait in a virtual line. She eventually heard the stories of luckier Swifties who waited, clicked to purchase and then learned at checkout that the price of their ticket was much higher than initially advertised because of seller fees.

It turns into a high-pressure situation of, "I have two minutes or I'm going to lose these tickets," Moller said. "Then if you reject it, you have to start over and you're afraid you're not going to get any ticket."

Moller is sponsoring a bill along with Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, that would require sellers to list the full price, including fees, upfront on their websites. This would avoid surprise fees on the back end of the sale. The bill has already been heard in a House committee and Klein's version will be heard Thursday in the Senate's Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

"It's ludicrous that any product can be sold like that," said Michael Nowakowski, owner of the Twin Cities-based Ticket King reseller. "The people that get burned the most are young people or old people that just don't have a lot of experience online."

In his opinion, "The only people that don't want this bill to pass are employing deceptive sales techniques of marketing tickets down and adding a huge fee at the end to make their money. It's that simple of a concept."

Nowakowski, whose site lists full ticket prices upfront, said transparency would prevent "funny business. "It would be one thing if it was like $5 a ticket, but sometimes at Ticketmaster the fee is more than the ticket," he said.

Moller and Klein both say they're sponsoring a bill that works for everyone. Moller introduced House File 1989 last year and spent the interim between the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions working on revisions with Klein and affected parties, including big resellers such as Ticketmaster and Stubhub.

"We worked with all the advocates," Klein said. "Everybody here wanted something more. But we have a bill which will ensure transparency and reliability for Minnesotans when they buy tickets."

In addition to requiring sellers to list the entire cost of a ticket — including all fees — at the beginning of the transaction, the bill would ban speculative ticketing where websites list them for sale before they're available.

"Nobody should be selling tickets until they're actually available to be sold," Moller said.

The bill would also ban deceptive resale sites that look like primary sellers.

Another provision would allow the Department of Commerce to collect information about illegal bots purchasing tickets. Federal law bans bots, but there's no enforcement so it's unknown how widespread they are, Moller said.

"What we're hearing as a practice is that bots are a real issue and Ticketmaster will say we are trying, but the bots come from overseas," she said, adding that she's concerned about bots adding to demand and driving up prices. "Shouldn't we at least be getting a handle on how often they're being used?"

Klein and Moller said their bill is modeled on provisions in Nevada and New York laws.

As for the bill number matching the title of one of Swift's albums, Moller said it's no coincidence. The number was among a batch available on the day she dropped the bill in the clerk's office. An alert staffer told Moller that 1989 was there for the taking.

Laura Dooley, head of StubHub government relations, said in a statement that the reseller is eager to work with Moller and Klein "in support of their goal of passing ticketing legislation that protects Minnesota consumers by promoting safe and transparent ticketing marketplaces while ensuring that the bills don't inadvertently harm competition."

"Ticketmaster has long advocated for ticketing reforms that better protect fans including all-in pricing mandates, banning speculative ticket selling and deceptive websites, and pushing for stricter enforcement of anti-bot laws," the company said in a written statement that called Moller's bill "a positive step forward."

Moller, who has worked with the industry, said its biggest concern is "that whatever they have to do, everyone else has to do."

Greg Burke publishes the TC Club Crawl, Concert and Ticket Report that provides his thousands of subscribers with information about when tickets go on sale and their cost. He said Moller's bill doesn't go far enough.

"Transparency is a little teeny-weeny part of it," he said. "How about you give people a way to avoid the fee altogether, and that's with box offices."

Record stores and venues used to sell tickets in person. "It upsets me that they're missing the whole other half of the issue," Burke said.

The bill also doesn't address the concentration of power among ticket sellers, something that has been discussed in Congress. Since a 2010 merger, Ticketmaster and Live Nation own or control more than 200 concert venues nationwide and have become managers to many top artists.

In Washington, D.C., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has introduced a bipartisan "fans first" bill to address many of the same issues. Among other things, her bill would require sellers to list the full price, including fees, at the beginning of the process.

Moller said she doesn't want to wait for Congress to act. Nowakowski said he hopes the Moller-Klein effort maintains momentum.

"Unfortunately, the only times this comes up is when there's a show like Taylor Swift or Hannah Montana or the Backstreet Boys where a bunch of parents become enraged that they couldn't get tickets for their kids," he said.

Moller, by the way, made it to a Minneapolis Taylor Swift show. "I was able to go with my friend and a totally random group of Swifties," Moller said. "It was fun."