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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Judge Tosses A’s Stadium Referendum, But Las Vegas Battle To Continue

  • Referendum to get public stadium funding on the ballot described as "deficient"
  • Education advocacy group now has option to appeal ruling or rewrite referendum
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s and MLB have won an early legal battle in the franchise’s planned relocation to Las Vegas, but an education advocacy group vowed to keep challenging the public funding earmarked for it.

Schools Over Stadiums, a political action committee linked to the Nevada State Education Association, has sought to force a public vote in November 2024 on $380 million in previously approved public funding for a $1.5 billion stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. The initiative generated enough early notice that commissioner Rob Manfred conveyed some public concern about it.

But in a ruling from the bench, Nevada district court judge James Russell called the referendum measure “legally deficient” as currently constructed. “It does not provide the full text of the measure …. when gathering the necessary signatures as mandated by the Nevada Constitution,” Russell said.

The legal challenge was brought by a pair of labor leaders supporting the stadium.

Still Fighting

Schools Over Stadiums now has two choices: appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court or resubmit a new referendum petition. 

A decision hasn’t been made, but there are still nine months before a July 2024 deadline to get on next November’s ballot. The group ultimately will need to collect at least 25,647 signatures from each of the state’s four congressional districts.

“We’re undeterred and still committed to giving Nevada voters the opportunity to decide whether their tax dollars are used to subsidize a billionaire’s stadium,” Schools Over Stadiums said.

MLB team owners remain set to vote on the A’s move at league meetings planned for Nov. 14-16 in Arlington, Texas, with the necessary 75% approval threshold expected to be cleared easily. If approved, the relocation will represent MLB’s second franchise shift since 1971. 

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