Nevada Court Weighing Referendum to Strike Out Public Funding of A’s Vegas Stadium

The Nevada Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments on whether an initiative should be allowed on the November ballot that would place the question of public funding of the Oakland Athletics’ Las Vegas stadium in the hands of the public.

A.I. renders an Oakland A’s baseball cap dispensing cash. (Image: ChatGPT)

Last June, state legislators passed Senate Bill 1, allocating $380 million in publicly financed bonds and tax credits to help defray the stadium’s $1.5 billion projected cost. The ballpark is scheduled to be built on nine acres of what will, by October, be the former site of Tropicana casino resort.

It is scheduled to open in time for the 2028 major-league baseball season.

Teachers Take a Swing

A petition from Schools Over Stadiums (SOS), a political action committee tied to the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA), seeks to disapprove the public funding. It requires 102K signatures by June 26 to make the November ballot.

Stadium backers take legal issue with the petition’s language, however, claiming that it inadequately describes its goal.

In November, Judge James T. Russell of Carson City sided with the backers, ruling that the petition must include the entire text of Senate Bill 1. As drafted, the petition cites only the law to be stricken.

The rub is that Nevada law limits the explanation of a ballot referendum to no more than 200 words.

The state’s highest court is now hearing arguments on whether to overrule Russell’s decision or let it stand.

“People need to be informed of what this excision would do,” Bradley Schrager, the attorney arguing on behalf of stadium supporters, said during a hearing on Tuesday, as reported by the Nevada Current.

“John Fisher does not pay Bradley Schrager because he cares about the finer points of constitutional law in Nevada,” the NSEA’s Chris Daly told the Current after the hearing. “That’s not what’s happening here.

“What this has been about from the beginning is delay, driving up our bills, and keeping this off the ballot,” Daly continued, framing the real issue as whether the PAC will have enough time to collect the required signatures.

“If the ruling is in our favor, we have maybe three weeks,” Daly told the website. “If it’s against us, we need it very soon.”

This week, Emerson College Polling reported that 52% of likely Nevada voters oppose the use of public money for the baseball stadium, with 32% supporting and 16% uncertain.

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