The Miami Dolphins won their first legislative battle in a war to secure taxpayer money to cover half of the planned $400 million upgrades to Sun Life Stadium this morning as the bill passed its first Senate committee unanimously.
After a presentation involving Dolphins CEO Mike Dee and others, the bill passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously, but still has a long, long way to go.
"This will not pass finally in Tallahassee," Norman Braman, the auto-magnate billionaire who is once again the public face of opposition to tax payers funding stadium construction, told CBSMiami
before the hearing. "It will probably get past the committee this week. But that's throwing a bone to the lobbyist."
The bill has also been referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax and the Appropriations and Rules committees in the Senate. The bill would then need to pass both the main floors of the Senate and House.
Some legislators are somewhat concerned about passing legislation that would help one single entity. While the bill is written in a way where it doesn't mention the Miami Dolphins by name, the requirements it includes that would make a stadium eligible for state help only applies to the Dolphins.
"This bill covers one team," said Senate Commerce and Tourism Chair Nancy Detert during the hearing, according to The Sun-Sentinel
. "We all but put your picture in the Florida statutes. I've never done a bill that just benefits one person statutorily and I have a real concern with that."
Though Ron Book, the mega-lobbyist retained by the Dolphins, pointed out that the legislature had helped the Tampa Bay Bucs secure their new stadium more than 15 years ago.
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