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Louisiana Senate approves deal to keep Saints in Big Easy

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Senate has approved an essential part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's deal to keep the New Orleans Saints in the state.

There was little discussion about the bill Thursday before it was unanimously approved. It heads back to the House for approval of changes before it heads to Jindal.

The measure, which allows the state to lease office space from Saints owner Tom Benson, was already approved by the House.

Benson plans to buy and redevelop a vacant office complex and mall next to the Louisiana Superdome. The state agreed to rent office space from the Saints owner in a deal to funnel money to the NFL team while limiting direct cash subsidies.

In exchange, Benson agreed to keep the Saints in New Orleans through 2025.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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