The Nevada State Teachers Union is now attacking the Oakland A's and their efforts at Las Vegas Stadium on a second front.
A political action committee backed by teachers on Monday filed a lawsuit against the state and Gov. Joe Lombardo, challenging the legality of a bill that last year awarded $380 million in public money for a new stadium in Las Vegas for the A's. The lawsuit, which also names state Treasurer Zach Kuhnen, is the second effort aimed at being filed by the Nevada State Education Association, one of Nevada's teachers unions.
The first, a ballot initiative, sought to bring the stadium funding bill, known as “SB1,” to a public vote. The teachers lost in court in November, but the appeal is still pending.
Now, teachers are pursuing the bill on a technicality, claiming it violates the state constitution. A, who are not defendants in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Governor Lombardo's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit alleges that the bill actually requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the Nevada House and Senate, rather than a standard majority vote, because that is how the state is supposed to handle legislation that creates public revenue.
The lawsuit also alleges that SB1 does not meet requirements to submit cost accounts and that the state would wrongly assume debt from Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.
“This relates to (owner) John Fisher's efforts to obtain the necessary financing for the approximately $1.1 billion that he needs to put together,” said Chris Daly, NSEA's deputy executive director of government relations. “We are doing everything we can to make the road more difficult for them. Because our ultimate goal is to fund Nevada schools, we believe the SB1 and stadium deal is going in the wrong direction.”
Most of NSEA's work conflicting with the A's has so far been done through a PAC called Schools Over Stadiums. The lawsuit was filed Monday by another NSEA-backed group called Strong Public Schools. Teachers union officials said in November that a lawsuit like the one on Monday would likely follow.
On the other hand, if teachers' legal battle to put SB1 to a referendum succeeds favorably, there will still be significant hurdles. In order to put SB1 to a public vote, teachers would need to physically collect more than 100,000 signatures by June, a process that would likely cost at least $1 million, Daly said. The group will need to raise significant funding for this to be successful, and in a short timeframe.
“We're going to need institutional players to help us qualify for this,” Daly said. “It seems like some of the fan groups (A) and some of the leaders are committed to continuing the fight and trying to raise a million dollars. And I say, 'Thank you, I don't want to tell you that you can't do it, because you've done a lot of things that I've never seen before already.'
“However, I always knew we needed more institutional players, perhaps from the Bay Area, to influence our side.”
The A's hope to have the field ready to go on the Las Vegas Strip in time for the 2028 season.
(Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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