- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona legislative bill that would help the city of Glendale cover public safety costs during the next Super Bowl received unanimous approval Tuesday from a key panel.

The Arizona Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the heavily watered-down House Bill 2547 that would require Arizona to cover half the costs Glendale incurs for the 2015 Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The state House approved the bill earlier this month.

Officials say previous threats to safety at other venues such as the Boston Marathon bombings have increased security costs.

Glendale officials estimate the city will spend $3.2 million on public safety for the game. It spent $2.3 million for that purpose for the 2008 Super Bowl.

Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said the city cannot afford to cover those costs on its own, and it might not be able to host in the future if there is no assistance.

“It’s just a fact. My city does not have the funds to host these major events if we don’t get some sort of help,” he said.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, initially would have reimbursed the city up to $4 million for public-safety costs. But several amendments along the way have watered down the bill, and it now would only stand for one year, meaning it would benefit only Glendale.

The bill also creates a study committee to determine whether the state should continue the reimbursement program in the future.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, said she has received numerous emails from constituents who believe the bill benefits only Glendale and not the rest of Arizona. She nonetheless voted in favor.

“I can’t imagine a Boston Marathon incident happening in the state of Arizona, which is always possible,” said Sen. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma.

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