Two bills winding through Florida’s legislature this week want to turn professional sports stadiums into fly-by-night homeless shelters, reports Jim DeFede in the Miami CBS News Local. Introduced by Republican state Sen. Michael Bennett of Florida, the crux of Senate Bill 816 is a 1988 law that said sports teams could use $2 million per year in taxpayer cash to build their venues so long as they sheltered the homeless on off-nights.
With the Jan. 31 Florida primary looming large on the horizon, Bennett is striking while the iron is hot, putting stadium owners and teams under fire for neglecting America’s needy.
“We have spent over $300 million supporting teams that can afford to pay a guy $7, $8, $10 million a year to throw a baseball 90 feet,” he told the Miami Herald. “I cannot believe that we’re going to cut money out of Medicaid and take it away from the homeless and take it away from the poor and impoverished, and we’re continuing to support people who are billionaires.”
If teams, including the Miami Heat and Tampa Bay Rays, can’t prove that they complied with the law, they could be on the hook to repay state funds.