NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross come to Tallahassee to save Dolphins stadium effort
The Miami Dolphins brought their big guns to Tallahassee on Monday, hoping to persuade the fickle Florida Legislature to approve a taxpayer-supported stadium upgrade in the final days of this year’s session.
In meetings Monday with top state lawmakers, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, team owner Stephen Ross and team CEO Mike Dee made their last-minute pitch, pressing them to support an upgrade of Sun Life Stadium.
By day’s end, the NFL firepower succeeded — at least with Legislature’s Upper Chamber. The Senate approved a sports team bill in the equivalent of a legislative rout, 35-4 vote. The only no votes: Sens. Rene Garcia (R-Miami), Anitere Flores (R-Miami), John Legg (R-Lutz) and Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Despite the big victory, the Dolphins still face major hurdles in Tallahassee, where the House must approve a sports package before the full Legislature officially adjourns on Friday. Gov. Rick Scott also must sign off on the legislation.
House Speaker Will Weatherford has expressed concerns about the Senate bill, which offers up to $13 million annually in new tax breaks for sports teams.