Held in D.C., continues through July 19.

The 80th annual International Association of Assembly Managers conference and trade show kicked off Sat. (July 16) at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. with a lively discussion about controlling fan behavior and a rundown of current legislative and legal actions affecting venue managers.

Stu Mayer, senior VP of Palace Sports and Entertainment in Auburn Hills, Mich., noted that his venue was not legally responsible for the brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers last November, which ultimately led players into the stands.

"This could happen anywhere," he noted. "We haven’t changed security, but have added more education to the fans on monitors and throughout the arena."

Turner Madden, partner at Madden and Patton in Washington, D.C., said that the proposed Ohio Criminal Trespass Bill would make it a misdemeanor if a fan goes into a clearly prohibited area in a venue. Violators could be fined up to $1,000 and be sentenced to six months in jail and to 120 hours of community service.

"If Ohio passes this, this will be a model bill for IAAM," he said.

In a separate discussion, Madden presented an update on current legal and legislative.

The Combat Meth Act of 2005, introduced in January, would fine or imprison any promoter who "knows or reasonably ought to know that a controlled substance will be used or distributed" at an entertainment event. Madden said that this language might be taken out of the bill, but it could have serious consequences to venue managers if it is not.

Another proposed bill, called the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, would establish a temporary program to curb losses resulting from an act of terrorism. The act would extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, and is fully supported by IAAM in Congress.

Further, in the Verni v. Aramark case, a jury awarded $60 million in damages to a family of a 7-year-old girl who was paralyzed when a drunk fan left a N.Y. Giants game and crashed into their car. Aramark, a major food supplier at more than 225 venues, is currently appealing the case.

The conference continues through tomorrow (July 19) and is being attended by more than 2,600. The sold-out trade show features 359 exhibitors. Gross revenues from the conference are $975,000.