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State lawmakers split over possible Kings move

March 29, 2011 | 10:36 am

The dispute over whether the Sacramento Kings basketball team will move to Anaheim has state lawmakers choosing sides.

"Welcome Anaheim Royals," says a sign outside the office of Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), referring to one possible name for the team if it moves, as he hopes, to his district.

Down the hall, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has a different position. Steinberg said Tuesday that he is weighing the possibility of introducing legislation that could block such a move unless the Kings make Sacramento whole financially for $70 million in city loans.

"I’m going to support my city and I’m going to look at legislation," the Senate leader said in a live interview Tuesday morning on Sacramento radio station KFBK.

The owners of the Kings are reportedly considering a move but have not reached a final deal.

Steinberg said he is concerned that Anaheim might use some public funds to "induce a California business from one major city, Sacramento, to another. I don’t think the law should encourage that. At a minimum the city ought to be protected with its $70-million investment, the loan that it issued to the Kings in 1997."

The Senate leader said he has not decided whether to introduce legislation, but "If it makes sense to protect the city’s investment and/or if there's a possibility to save the Kings, you are darn right I’ll do everything that I can."

-- Patrick McGreevy