The special session for a new Las Vegas stadium for the Oakland Raiders is underway, with officials on both sides of the issue making their cases.
Convened by governor Brian Sandoval, the special session is a key step in determining whether Nevada legislators will approve a series hotel tax hikes to cover a $750 million public contribution to the project. The Raiders and partner Las Vegas Sands Corp. had previously urged both the governor to call for the special session. The reason being that if the stadium is approved this fall, the Raiders could seek the NFL’s permission to relocate from Oakland by January.
The session began on Monday, with one of the first testimonies being a pro-stadium plea from representatives of companies with interests along the Strip. Though the stadium’s site has not been finalized, the representatives–which included Steve Wynn, MGM”s Jim Murren, and Caesar Entertainment’s Jan Jones Blackhurst–touted what they represented as the stadium’s economic benefit to the Strip and Las Vegas as a whole.
While other components of the project were debated by legislators, the reaction to that testimony from certain officials became one of the day’s most contentious issues. More from the Las Vegas Sun:
Lawmakers applauded after the presentations, which drew the ire of Democratic Assemblyman Elliot Anderson. As the Assembly wrapped up for the evening, he voiced displeasure about how the day’s events unfolded.
“We clapped instead of asking questions, and I just don’t think that’s appropriate,” Elliot Anderson said. “We are considering, in a very short window, a very serious policy matter, and we should have all the opportunity in the world to ask questions. I think the way this looks to the public is not a great look.”
Majority leader Paul Anderson, a Republican, said he agreed the applause “felt uncomfortable and out of order,” but he defended the joint session filled with back-to-back testimony from stadium proponents.
“I felt like I was doing us a favor by getting access to the testimony that would not have been available,” he said.
The discontent spilled over into the Senate chamber, where public commenters expressed frustration about how long legislators allowed stadium proponents to testify.
Under the current funding model, the state would contribute $750 million. The Raiders and Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman Sheldon Adelson would account for the private sector contributions at respective sums of $500 million and $650 million.
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