Brown signs bill to help get NFL stadium in LA

California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday to help Los Angeles get a new NFL stadium by way of avoiding long court battles.

"It's time for big thinking and big projects that put Californians back to work," Brown said. "Projects like Farmers Field can create thousands of jobs during a tough economic time, so it is imperative for the state to cut the red tape that could delay projects like this for years. These bills strike the right balance between protecting our environment and kick-starting jobs and investment in California."

Bill SB 292, sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), would expedite a judicial review of the project and establish ground-breaking environmental protections. Lawsuits over the project directed at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) would go directly to the California Court of Appeal instead of Superior Court.

The 72,000-seat stadium, which would cost $1.2 billion and be called Farmers Field, would be located in the downtown section of the city at the current site of the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. A key component is that the West Hall would be demolished and a new Hall constructed immediately adjacent to the South Hall.

"I'm pleased the Governor has signed the legislation to move the Farmers Field and Convention Center Project forward in a way consistent with California's environmental laws," said Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles). "This project will create 23,000 jobs for our economy while building the most environmentally advanced stadium in the United States. This stadium will be a source of pride for every Californian."

It's the latest step in the process to get a football team back in Los Angeles, the only major-market city in the United States not to host a National Football League team.

The problem for Phil Anschutz, the billionaire owner of AEG, is getting either an expansion team to Los Angeles or getting a current club to move to the city. Right now, the NFL has 32 teams.

Both the Rams and Raiders departed southern California prior to the 1995 season -- the Rams for St. Louis and the Raiders back to Oakland. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which opened in 1923, played host to both teams.

The Rams came from Cleveland to LA in 1946 and called the Coliseum home until moving to Anaheim for the 1980 season. The Raiders moved in during their original relocation from Oakland following the 1981 campaign and stayed through 1994.