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Bryan Avila files stadiums funding bill

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A new House bill would prohibit sports teams in Florida from building or refurbishing stadiums on public land.

State Rep. Bryan Avila, a Hialeah Republican, filed the bill (HB 77) Tuesday. The House website shows it does not yet have a Senate companion.

The legislation says “sports franchise(s) may not construct, reconstruct, renovate, or improve a facility on public land leased from the state or a political subdivision thereof.”

It also would require any “sale of public land by the state or a political subdivision for a sports franchise to construct, reconstruct, renovate, or improve a facility on such land must be at fair market value.”

The 2-page bill applies to the “National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the National League or American League of Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, or the promoter of a signature event sanctioned by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).”

Avila couldn’t be immediately reached by phone.

Lawmakers in Tallahassee have long had a conflicted relationship with public dollars going toward private sports stadiums and arenas.

Some Republican legislators tried during the 2015 Legislative Session to set aside $255 million for professional sports teams. But top House Republicans opposed the effort.

Last session, lawmakers were asked to give tens of millions to help sports teams in Jacksonville and Miami and for Daytona International Speedway, and public tax dollars have been considered in the financing of new stadiums for the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Dolphins.

Update: Greg Steube on Wednesday filed the Senate companion bill.

The Associated Press contributed background to this post, reprinted with permission. 

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at [email protected]

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