United Stadium Bill Gets Yes Vote

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D.C. United’s stadium plans are still alive.

I’m told the House Appropriations Committee voted 17-7 in favor of a bill to allow the Maryland Stadium Authority to enter into negotiations to build a new soccer stadium for the team in Prince George’s County.

The vote is a key step in getting full approval of the stadium plan through the Maryland General Assembly, but there is still work to be done.

For starters, the full House must approve the bill before the end of the night, or else there’s no guarantee the Senate will take up the bill. (I’m vauge on the reasoning, but it’s something involving a deadline by which bills can pass from one chamber to the other.) UPDATE: The House did not take up the bill in time for this crossover deadline. This does not necessarily kill the bill, but now it is up to the Senate to take up the issue. So the process may have to start over, in a sense.

D.C. United issued the following statement:

 This bill will allow the Maryland Stadium Authority to work with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and D.C. United to take a comprehensive look at the stadium opportunity and make recommendations to the Governor and legislature by the end of the year.  We certainly hope there will be favorable votes in the full House and the Senate so that we may begin the work to answer all of our stadium-related questions.

The Prince George’s County Council could bring up the bill Tuesday. While they do not have the power to outright kill the bill, there is a general feeling that the the Maryland Senate will not move their own version of the bill if the council rejects it. So, there is a chance the county council could bring the stadium discussion to a screeching halt.

A committee  of the county council voted against the bill, 5-0 last week, though the council chair said it should not be viewed as an indication of how the full council feels.

- Tim Lemke

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