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Ban on public support for profession sports facilities cleared for final House vote

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Two days after the Oakland Raiders won NFL approval to move to Las Vegas, the Florida House Wednesday set a final floor vote on a bill that would ban professional sports teams from building or refurbishing stadiums on public land.

CS/HB 77, by Bryan Avila, says “a sports franchise may not construct, reconstruct, renovate, or improve a facility on public land leased from the state or a political subdivision thereof.”

The bill — one of a number targeting professional sports — also says the sale of public land for sports stadiums must be at fair market value.

Furthermore, teams would have to assume public debt undertaken for their facilities if they move away.

Florida is home to 10 professional sports franchises, of which eight would be affected — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lightning, and Rays; the Florida Panthers and Marlins; the Miami Heat; the Jacksonville Jaguars; and the Orlando Magic.

Las Vegas is contributing $750 million for a new stadium for the Raiders — something Oakland officials refused to do.

Broward Democrat Richard Stark offered an amendment to allow public support by referendum, but it failed on a voice vote after Avila called it “unfriendly.”

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Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.

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