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.