Missouri Senate Bill Could Complicate Extending Bonds To Fund New Stadium | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Senate Bill Could Complicate Extending Bonds To Fund New Stadium

Jan 26, 2015

Edward Jones Dome, the current home of the St. Louis Rams. A bill has been filed in the Mo. Senate that would bar the governor from extending existing bonds without legislative approval. Extending current bonds for the Edward Jones Dome has been proposed to help fund a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.
Credit via Wikimedia Commons

Legislation that could make it harder to finance a new football stadium in St. Louis has been filed in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Bill 319, sponsored by state Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, would bar the governor from extending existing bonds without approval from state lawmakers.

"The bill really isn't about stadiums – it just happens to be that the issue is a stadium issue," Schaaf said. "It's really about the governor thinking that he could issue bonds under any circumstances for anything without the approval of the legislature."

Schaaf also said that Doug Nelson, commissioner of the Office of Administration, told the Senate Appropriations committee earlier this month that the governor's office believes Nixon has the authority to extend existing bonds without legislative approval.

"(Nelson) said that he thought that (the) current statute allowed the governor to go ahead and have the sports authority issue these bonds," Schaaf said.  "We have to put a stop to that immediately." 

Both House and Senate leaders have expressed opposition to providing any sort of state aid for a new NFL-caliber football stadium. Funding for the proposed riverfront stadium would include up to $350 million that would come from extending the current bonds on the Edward Jones Dome.  Rams owner Stan Kroenke has unveiled plans to build a new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., near downtown Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, says he and a group of other senators plan to deliver a letter to state Attorney General Chris Koster asking for a legal opinion on whether the governor can extend existing bonds without legislative approval.

Nixon administration officials have not responded yet to requests for comment.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport