Bills on NFL stadiums are being cleared by the Virginia Senate, House of Representatives

Bills that could lead to the construction of the NFL football stadium complex “Washington Commanders” in Prince William County or Loudon for $ 3 billion, freed both chambers of the General Assembly of Virginia.

This article was written by WTOP news partner InsideNoVa.com and reissued with permission. Subscribe to Free subscription via InsideNoVa.com email today.

Bills that could lead to the construction of the NFL football stadium complex “Washington Commanders” in Prince William County or Loudon for $ 3 billion, freed both chambers of the General Assembly of Virginia.

On Tuesday, the state Senate approved its version of the bill, authored by Sen. Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax, 32-8. The House of Representatives version, authored by Del Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, was approved Monday by 62-37 votes.

However, the two versions have some differences that will likely need to be resolved by the conference committee before the end of the legislative session in early March.

Officials from the Ashburn team have been meeting with lawmakers since late last year. The contract of commanders at FedEx Field in Landaure, Maryland, expires in 2027. The stadium was built in 1997.

The new government will be similar to the existing Baseball Stadium Authority, which the state created in 1995 in hopes of creating a Premier Baseball League team. Under such authorities, officials usually create an area around the stadium and allocate part or all of the new revenue from the complex to construction or related infrastructure.

However, there are attempts to renounce state support for the stadium because the results of an investigation into harassment of the organization and allegations of sexual abuse against owner Dan Snyder have not been published.

When a Senate bill was presented to the Appropriations Committee on Feb. 11, Senator Adam Ebin, D-Falls Church, tried to amend the legislation to withstand any economic incentives or waive any tax revenue until all documents, reports and results of the investigation are received. promulgated.

The Washington Post has published an investigation alleging that more than 40 women who were former members of the team have been sexually harassed and discriminated against by Snyder and other male leaders since at least 2006. The Post also reported that the team had satisfied a previous lawsuit about sexual harassment against Snyder. for $ 1.6 million.

Shortly afterwards, the team hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to investigate, but soon the NFL intervened to oversee him. Upon its completion, the team was fined $ 10 million, and Snyder withdrew from day-to-day operations.

Since then, The Post has reported that the team’s lawyer has called for the destruction of documents related to the investigation of sexual crimes.

Several senators opposed Ebin’s proposal, saying the legislature should focus only on business.

“I don’t think there is anyone in this room who has trouble investigating the NFL’s allegations against Mr. Snyder,” Saslav said. “I certainly don’t. I don’t think anyone else is doing it. But this is not included in this bill. “

Senator Chief Peterson, D-Fairfax, said the General Assembly was not conducting such investigations.

“This is a business deal. This is a business operation, ”he said. “We did not investigate Jeff Bezos when concluding the deal with Amazon. … We need to focus on the details of the business. ”

Abbin, however, disagreed and said the public has a right to know with whom Virginia will do business if the state promises to waive tax revenues.

“If you go into business with a billionaire and give up tax revenue of up to $ 1 billion, I just think it’s advisable to exercise due diligence rather than fall out weekly, month after month, year after year,” he said. “If we’re going to give. he has such a great incentive, we have a right to know that an investigation will be available. “

Abbin made a proposal to include his amendment, but it was not supported and therefore failed. The bill exempted from the committee only Abbin and Senator Janet Howell of D-Fairfax.

On Friday in the House of Delegates. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church, failed in his attempt to add a similar amendment to the House of Representatives bill. The Simon Amendment would not allow the legislation to take effect before the NFL yields the results of the Wilkinson investigation, including its findings and all relevant documents held by the NFL or a third-party vendor.

The House essentially voted to reject the Simon Amendment by 51-43 votes before voting to pass the bill.

The Senate committee meeting was the first mention of potential costs for the stadium, which officials said would include surrounding outlets, housing and restaurants. Saslav said the construction of the stadium would cost $ 1 billion and the surrounding campus $ 2 billion to be contributed by the owner.

According to him, the annual tax revenue of the complex is estimated at 153 million dollars. Of this, $ 60 million will go to the general fund of the state, $ 59 million – to a nearby town and $ 34 million – to redeem bonds.

He said any bonds issued by the stadium management would be supported by the team, not the state. The bonds and lease of the stadium will be concluded for 30 years.

“The bill does not create a penny of debt to the Commonwealth,” – said Saslav.

The team is reportedly still considering locations in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said his state still hopes to keep the team in the state, and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city has an open stadium in the county.

Source link

USA News