Maxwell Anderson had a recent piece in The Art Newspaper arguing in favor of resale royalty legislation, which he says "is expected to be reintroduced" in the new Congress.
One of the arguments people often make against the resale royalty is that it's not necessary: that artists whose prices go significantly up reap the benefit of that when they sell their own work. Anderson points out that one group of artists that's not always true for is "historically disadvantaged artists who have been left out of the American canon of art for reasons of race, gender or other socio-economic limitations. This is especially true of the many artists who lack representation or a presence in the art market until the end of their careers or posthumously." For example: "Consider the Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama: with no access to the gallery system, many of their artworks were purchased by Atlanta collector William S. Arnett at a time when no viable market existed for their work. … Like many artists, the value of the quilt makers’ works has increased over time. But many of the artists have either passed away or are no longer producing works, and thus an improved market came too late to benefit them in their prime. One could cite many examples of this discrepancy throughout history."
UPDATE: Brian Frye is unimpressed: "Even the best arguments in favor of statutory artist resale royalties are comically bad. Yes, it is possible to hunt up artists who didn't profit from work that later became valuable. But they deserve money because they are poor, not because they are artists."