Committee Advances Proposal Requiring Events To Offer Equal Prize Money

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles City Council committee voted today in favor of a proposal that would require event organizers who offer prize money to provide equal compensation for men's and women's competitions.

City officials told the City Council's Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee that the city could almost immediately require event organizers to pay men and women equally through the permit process.

City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who championed the proposal, said she would like event organizers to be aware of the proposal, which would have to be approved by the full city council to become law.

``If we move forward with this, maybe there's a way to start letting folks know that this is a possible direction that we might be headed in, so that people don't feel like they're caught off guard,'' Martinez said.

Officials said they could look into providing earlier notice of the equal pay requirement prior to events.

City Councilman David Ryu mentioned a resolution he and Martinez co- authored in support of a bill that would freeze federal funds for the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic Games unless the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to equally pay both of its national teams. Los Angeles is slated to host the 2028 Summer Games and is a candidate city to host World Cup matches in 2026.

``I'm sure there will be a lot of confusion and a lot of things to work out leading up to the Olympics, but it will be clear that Los Angeles supports equal pay for athletes whether they're men or women, so I think this is a great step forward,'' Ryu said. ``We want to make sure this is a fair city when it comes to sports.''

City Councilman Bob Blumenfield asked about how the proposal would be applied to public streets and walkways for events at facilities like Staples Center, mentioning the discrepancies in pay between the NBA and the WNBA. He said that during Lakers games, for example, the center does not have to apply for special events permits to close or manage certain streets, but officials said the arena has a standing agreement with the city.

The committee voted to instruct the city to look for additional assistance in making the requirement applicable to certain events that don't go through the city's special events permit process.

Councilman Joe Buscaino wanted to know what enforcement policies would be in place if permit holders didn't honor the equal pay rules. Officials said many events that offer prize money look to host events for multiple years in Los Angeles and have a stake in being a good partner with the city.

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