California Senate approves bill for NFL stadium in LA

The California State Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that would help bring a new NFL stadium and convention center to downtown Los Angeles.

Bill SB 292, sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), would expedite a judicial review of the project and establish ground-breaking environmental protections. The bill, which passed by a 32-7 margin Friday, would prevent frivolous lawsuits that could delay the project.

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.

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 building of a new sports arena and convention center is a game changer for the City of Los Angeles and the region," Padilla said in a prepared statement. "This project represents $1.2 billion in private investment in our city. It will create thousands of jobs and continue the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles."

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.