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Stadium legislation takes step forward

2:52 PM, Jan 23, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA BAY, Florida -- Could a pair of movements designed to attach strings to stadium subsidies be gaining momentum in the state capital?

State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, announced today his bill to ban blackouts in taxpayer-funded stadiums (SB 836) was adopted in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.  It was amended onto SB 816 from State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, a bill that would require taxpayer-funded stadiums to operate as homeless shelters on non-game days.

"I thank Senator Bennett for his desire to assist the fans of professional sports by offering to amend his bill with the blackout ban language," Senator Fasano said in a statement.  "With the unanimous support of the committee I look forward to this good bill moving forward."

According to a press release, Fasano's legislation would fine professional sports teams that didn't follow the blackout law and use the money to purchase future game tickets for foster children and their foster families, nonprofit youth organizations, and servicemen and women.

According to the News Service of Florida, Bennett wants teams to return $166,000 in state tax revenue annually if they refuse to cooperate with his homeless shelter proposal.

His bill reads "any professional sports facility constructed with financial assistance from the State of Florida shall be designated as a shelter site for the homeless in accordance with the criteria of locally existing homeless shelter programs, except when the facility is otherwise contractually obligated for a specific event or activity."

SB 816 passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee, which Bennett chairs, unanimously.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or on Twitter. Follow his sports business blog at Shadow of the Stadium.  Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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