Nearly 10 months after Nassau taxpayers voted down a measure to spend up to $400 million for a new Nassau Coliseum, the State Assembly has passed a bill that would prohibit private individuals or corporations from paying for public referendums.

The bill, sponsored by Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), is a reaction to the offer by Islanders owner Charles Wang to pay for the Aug. 1, 2011, referendum if it passed. It cost Nassau $1.57 million to conduct the vote, said William Biamonte, Nassau's Democratic Board of Elections commissioner.

On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled Assembly approved the bill by a vote of 124-3. Among the three Republicans who voted against the measure was Assemb. Edward Ra of Franklin Square.

The bill mandates that taxpayers pay for all expenses associated with a referendum. However, the bill does not yet have a Senate sponsor.

"This was a privatization of a public responsibility," Lavine said of Wang's offer. "It was the surrender of a public obligation."

The Islanders, the Coliseum's primary tenant, and Mangano administration officials did not respond to requests for comment on the bill. Both were supporters of the referendum.

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Lavine said he has found no other instance, either before or after the Coliseum vote, of a private individual attempting to pay for a public referendum.

But Ra said the bill was too broad.

"If this bill simply was to prohibit such a situation, i.e. a private person or entity offering to pay the administrative costs of holding a referendum so long as the result is in their favor, I'd support the bill," he said. "This, however, was a blanket prohibition on a private entity being able to pay for the administration of a referendum."

Also voting against the bill were Assemb. Donald Miller (R-Cicero) and Steve Katz (R-Yorktown).