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Legislation that would have allowed Cal Expo to operate more independently and to receive the proceeds of any sale or leasing of its land died today in an Assembly committee.

Assembly Bill 1204 was shelved without a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, proposed the bill as a step toward allowing Cal Expo to operate as an independent enterprise in tackling $45 million in deferred maintenance, as well as declining attendance for horse racing and the annual state fair.

A key element of AB 1204 would have eliminated a requirement that the state Department of General Services approve the purchase, acquisition, disposal, leasing, or permanent improvements of real estate or personal property owned by Cal Expo.

Under Dickinson's bill, approval of state fair property transactions would have been overseen by the State Fair Leasing Authority, consisting of four members of the Cal Expo governing board and directors of the state finance, general services, and food and agriculture departments. The state controller and treasurer would have been seated if transactions involved the issuance of bonds.

A spotlight was placed on the value of Cal Expo's land last year during discussions about the possibility of constructing a new Sacramento Kings arena on the 350-acre site. The fairgrounds' value was estimated at $200 million, according to an Assembly analysis of AB 1204.


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