click image A ban on professional sports franchises building or renovating stadiums on publicly owned land is ready to go to the full Florida House, after speeding through only one committee in advance of the 2018 legislative session.

The House Government Accountability Committee on Tuesday voted 15-6 to approve the measure (HB 13), which would also prohibit the state or local governments from leasing existing facilities to sports franchises below fair market value.

“What this bill aims to do is to try to curtail abuses that have gone on, where cities … are being held hostage,” said Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., a Hialeah Republican and co-sponsor.

Opposition to stadium funding has steadily grown in the Legislature since a 2009 deal by Miami-Dade County to borrow about $400 million through bonds for Marlins Stadium. The deal, according to projections, may come to a cost of more than $2.4 billion when the final payment is due in 2048.

Diaz said taxpayer funding help bolster the recent completion of a $1.2 billion sale of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins by former owner Jeffrey Loria.

“That team, that owner that just sold, purchased that team for pennies on the dollar —- with a loan from Major League Baseball —- and came down to Miami-Dade County and was able to build a stadium using taxpayer dollars that basically is what created the equity in that team,” Diaz said. “He’s walking away probably with you know $700 (million) to $800 million at the cost of the pockets of the taxpayers.”

The House supported a similar bill during the 2017 legislative session. The new bill will go to the House floor in the 2018 session, which starts in January. But again, the proposal’s future will depend on the Senate, which has been cool to the measure.

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