Lawmakers approve bill boosting NFL stadium in LA

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SACRAMENTO, California (AP) - California's state Senate on Friday sent Gov. Jerry Brown bipartisan legislation intended to speed up construction of a possible NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, shrugging off concerns that it could draw a team from elsewhere in California.

The bill, SB292, fast-tracks the environmental appeals process so Anschutz Entertainment Group can build its proposed $1.2 billion stadium near Staples Center more quickly. Supporters say the project will not start unless the city can lure a professional football team.

Sen. Alex Padilla, a Los Angeles Democrat, said his bill would help create 23,000 construction and full-time jobs, in part because the stadium project would be accompanied by renovation of the city's convention center.

"The sheer scale and magnitude of this project will be felt statewide," Padilla said.

Lawmakers of both political parties took turns lauding the potential for creating jobs in a state with a 12 percent unemployment rate, second-highest in the nation behind Nevada. The bill passed on a 32-7 vote.

"We're in a crisis situation when we're talking about jobs," said Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks. "To me, this is a no-brainer."

Padilla said the developers have promised to build "the most environmentally friendly sports stadium in the country." That includes compensating for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles traveling to the stadium.

In exchange, the proposed stadium would get an expedited environmental review process that supporters say would prevent the project from getting tied up by lawsuits. Challenges would have to be filed in the court of appeal and resolved within 175 days after the environmental impact report is released.

The Los Angeles area, the nation's second largest television market, has been without an NFL team since the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis in 1995.


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