Gov. Harry Hughes, giving in to protests lodged by legislative leaders, said yesterday that he had agreed to scale back his administration's optimistic plans for a broad-based sports authority to oversee the state's $1.1 billion professional sports industry.
Instead, Hughes said at his weekly news conference, the new authority he proposes will initially be in charge of only football and baseball operations, excluding racing and other sports. He also said that he had dropped his proposal to finance the sports authority's operations with revenues to be derived from a new set of instant lottery games.
The authority would still have the power to condemn land for acquisition, Hughes said, but that power would be subject to the approval of the Board of Public Works.
The new compromise also includes a provision, championed by House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Baltimore), through which the authority will report back to the legislature on its "total financial plan" for expenditures such as the building of a new $174 million stadium to replace Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.
State money will be committed toward building a new stadium, Hughes said, only when a team such as the Baltimore Orioles signs a long-term lease on such a site.