A key figure in the Sacramento Kings staying put in the capitol city, California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, introduced new legislation that would streamline environmental review of the downtown Sacramento arena site.
Steinburg’s new bill passed with an overwhelming vote of support. The Assembly approved 55-6 and the Senate approved 32-5, all in a bipartisan voting effort. Steinberg has been a huge supporter of the Kings, as a civic asset for the city he represents, and an economic engine when the new arena is open. Construction and jobs at the opened complex will produce over 4,000 jobs. The senate president pro tem was a part of the Sacramento delegation that made Sacramento’s pitch to the NBA Board of Governors along with the city’s Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Governor Jerry Brown of California will now have the arena bill waiting for him on his desk to sign off for approval into law.
In details of Senate Bill 743 , the Sacramento Bee reported:
The bill will speed the judicial process for handling any environmental lawsuits brought against the planned $448 million arena the city and the Kings plan to build in Downtown Plaza. It also limits the courts’ ability to stop construction of the project if a lawsuit is filed, and bolsters the city’s ability to use eminent domain, if needed, to purchase the Macy’s men’s store downtown to make room for the arena. Macy’s plans to consolidate its downtown retail at the women’s store a block away.
SB 743 is also symbolic in Steinberg’s desire for overhauling the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to speed up processes of environmental review on urban building projects. Steinberg had this to say:
Sometimes the path is a little tortured, not exactly what you planned, but you also take advantage of the moment. We (combined) a great opportunity for Sacramento with the imperative to modernize the environmental statute statewide.
This bill passage is another step of many more to come in realizing the final dream of Sacramento’s downtown arena.