Nixon meets with Kroenke; GOP lawmakers still oppose stadium funding plan
Gov. Jay Nixon met with St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke Monday, one day before NFL owners are scheduled to meet in Dallas to discuss the league's potential return to Los Angeles.
Nixon spokesperson Channing Ansley told the Associated Press that Nixon and Kroenke met, but she did not disclose any details.
The Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have all submitted plans to relocate to the Los Angeles area, which has been without an NFL franchise for more than 20 years. Kroenke wants to build a new stadium in Inglewood, about 12 miles southwest of downtown LA. The Raiders and Chargers are planning to jointly build and share a stadium in Carson, 14 miles south of downtown.
The Rams played in the Los Angeles Coliseum from 1946 to 1979, before moving to a then-new facility in Anaheim while retaining "Los Angeles" as the team's nickname. The Raiders moved from Oakland to play in the Coliseum starting in 1982.
Both teams left southern California after the 1994 season ended, with the Raiders moving back to Oakland and the Rams to St. Louis.
Gov. Nixon's meeting with Kroenke fell on the same day budget writers in the Missouri House met to discuss his proposal to help fund a new NFL stadium in St. Louis. Republican Jay Barnes of Jefferson City told the House Budget Committee that state law bars the refinancing of state bonds for one facility to pay for another.
"Our predecessors did not write a blank check for future governors (to) forever to build stadium, after stadium, after stadium, after stadium, without coming back to the General Assembly for either a new statute or some sort of authority to do so," Barnes said. "If you agree with the governor, that is what you are saying: that this statute, as it exists today, is now and forever a blank check to all governors to build stadiums just about anywhere."
Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson testified saying the proposal to extend bond payments for the Edward Jones Dome to build a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams does not violate state law.
"The legislative branch has granted the executive branch very broad authority in what the (Regional Sports Authority) can do and what the state can enter into," Nelson said. "It says to build 'stadiums,' it doesn't say one stadium, it doesn't say five, it doesn't say 10."
Several Republican lawmakers have vowed to block Nixon from extending bond payments, going so far as to threaten to stop debt payments on the bonds, a move Nixon says could jeopardize the state's AAA credit rating.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport