The California State Senate passed a bill Friday that would expedite legal challenges to the potential NFL stadium in Los Angeles. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the backers of the stadium project, was concerned about a variety of possible legal challenges to their plans. While they still face various legal hurdles in the environmental review process, Senate Bill 292 will speed up the appeals process.
The bill still needs to be signed or vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, although Brown is expected to sign it. Once signed into law, the bill provides that all legal challenges to the stadium's environmental impact report will be heard by the California Court of Appeals and skip over the Superior Court. A decision would be issued by the Court of Appeals within 175 days of any filing. While there will still be some legal wranglings, this process speeds it up considerably.
By speeding up the litigation process, it also speeds up the process for relocating a team to Los Angeles. AEG is hoping to break ground by June 2012 and if they are able to break ground by then, it is possible we could see a new team playing in LA by next fall. Although the stadium and attached convention center would take multiple years to build, a relocated team could start playing in the LA Coliseum or Rose Bowl in the meantime.
This bill is also significant because the state also passed AB 900, which is modeled on SB 292 and will allow other stadium and arena type projects to apply for a similar expedited legal process.