Bargain shoppers won a victory as the Senate approved legislation giving discounters greater protections against price fixing.

The Senate approved the bill by a voice vote Thursday, handing comparison shoppers an annual savings of at least $20 billion, according to its sponsor, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio."The reality is that it's an emancipation day for the American consumer," Metzenbaum said of the vote, "because it says to the American consumer you now have the right to buy discount."

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The bill makes it clearly illegal for manufacturers to terminate contracts with discount stores in order to eliminate price competition and overturns Supreme Court rulings that severely limited the evidence discounters could use in bringing such price fixing cases.

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