‘Anschutz Bill’ Approved

Before the California Legislature adjourned for the summer September 12th, lawmakers approved a bill that would make Anschutz Entertainment Group eligible for millions of dollars in state housing funds.

AEG, a major political contributor, could be eligible to compete for some of the $2.8 billion in bond money voters approved for affordable housing last year, the Los Angeles Times said. AB 1053, which the Times called the "Anschutz bill," is sponsored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and was approved over objections from advocates of affordable housing.

AEG has donated $50,000 to a campaign to pass a ballot measure that would extend term limits of sitting lawmakers, according to the paper. The housing bill would reportedly make the Figueroa corridor – the area that includes the L.A. Live project near the Staples Center – a "business improvement district" eligible for state public works funds that will pay for public infrastructure such as sidewalks and transit facilities.

However, AEG spokesman Michael Roth said none of the money would go to the L.A. Live development site, which is heavily subsidized.

Measures such as these – which do not go through the normal vetting process of public hearings – are called "jam jobs," the paper said.

Although the California legislature is supposed to go on hiatus until 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his executive authority to call lawmakers back to work later this month. Schwarzenegger has been making a push to achieve statewide healthcare reform – an issue the legislature did not resolve by vacation time.