New, contentious Darrell Steinberg bill to give special treatment to Kings arena

The proposed Sacramento Kings arena will soon receive a Kevin Johnson-worthy assist from Darrell Steinberg: The state senate leader plans to introduce an 11th-hour bill to fast-track the proposed downtown arena’s construction and development.

The pro-tem’s forthcoming bill, confirmed by multiple sources who asked to remain anonymous, will streamline the arena’s environmental review. 

That’s not unusual; Steinberg’s introduced bills in the past to facilitate sports arena’s CEQA review. But the bill also apparently will help out the city with the Kings eminent-domain battle against the Macy’s store at Downtown Plaza, which many consider a controversial move.

The bill will also fast-track construction issues, so as to hopefully open the arena at the start of the 2016 NBA season.

The NBA has demanded that Sacramento build a new arena, or else lose the team to another city.

A goal of the Steinberg bill is not let the arena to be bogged down by environmental lawsuits.

A big part of this is making the environmental-impact report process faster: In case of a lawsuit, the superior and appeal’s courts of California each will have only 180 days for review.

Perhaps more unusual are plans for injunctive relief for arena construction, which will allow for development and construction to begin during the environmental-review process.

Even more contentious will be a provision to permit the city of Sacramento to engage eminent-domain proceedings against Macy’s—which so far has refused to sell its property to Kings—during the year-long environmental review.

Sources have confirmed that Mark Friedman, who lead development of the new arena, and others are lobbying lawmakers this week.

Former Sen. pro-tem Don Perata will also be lobbying at the Capitol, according to sources.

A similar bill that would apply to the Golden State Warrior’s arena in San Francisco, has been making its way through the Capitol this session—but apparently will be stuck in a rules committee, perhaps until the Kings arena bill gains traction among members.

The following is a copy of the Steinberg bill:

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