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Category: Legislation & Regulation

Annapolis Update: Bills that Could Affect Your Horse World

The Maryland legislative session is now hot and heavy. Over 2,600 bills have been filed, and things are moving fast, with hearings, motions, amendments, and crossovers. In the updates below, The Equiery uses the following terms with the associated meanings: “Stalled” or “stalled out” can refer to bills that has had hearings weeks ago but no action has happened, or it can refer to bills that have been filed but have yet to receive a hearing, and at this late date are unlikely to have a hearing. This is one way a bill can die in committee, without overtly...

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Racing’s Equine Medical Director: Victim of Legislative Chaos?

by Frank Vespe; originally appeared on theracingbiz.com; reprinted and reposted with permission of Frank Vespe Legislation that would have created an equine medical director position in Maryland has been withdrawn, victim to the fast-moving chaos of the legislative session. The bill, supporters decided, was “untimely,” as Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) president Sal Sinatra termed it. The MJC, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and Maryland Horse Breeders Association, as well as the state’s Standardbred interests, all were on board. But the bill became untimely in the face of a proposal to take millions of dollars out of racing industry purses. With...

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Mid-way in the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session

The 437th session of the Maryland General Assembly is in full swing!  Also known as the “Legislative Session,” these 90 days are an intense roller coaster of parliamentary drama. Most Maryland senators and delegates leave their “real jobs” and “real lives” for 3 months, relocating to Annapolis to craft the laws and regulations that govern our state.  It is not uncommon for 2,000 – 3,000 bills to be filed each session, and every single one of them receives at least one hearing before session adjourns on April. Session convened on January 11, and the first month is usually pretty low-key...

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Maryland Horse Council to “Go Big”

As president Steuart Pittman has quipped, the time has come for the Maryland Horse Council to “go big or go home,” and so, in order to “go big,” MHC is looking to “go pro” by partnering with a professional association management firm. MHC was founded 30 years ago specifically for the purpose of influencing legislators to create a horse park; that horse park is the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. By the time it was five years old, MHC had shifted to a statewide mission: to represent the diverse horse industry at the state level on legislative and regulatory matters. Since the mid-90s, membership and activities have skyrocketed, and as current president Jane Seigler explains, “We’ve kind of become a victim of our own success.” Until 10 years ago, MHC was managed completely by volunteers (disclaimer: for about 15 years, The Equiery actually provided the management services for MHC, and is an ongoing sponsor of MHC). By 2006, MHC had outgrown The Equiery’s ability to manage it as a “volunteer” (i.e., donating our labor and our resources), and so MHC hired its first association manager, Vanessa Finney, who also worked part time for several other associations. Soon one of those associations snapped her up full time. MHC lobbyist Nancy Hill helped bridge the gap until Mythic Landing Enterprises was hired to provide administrative services. This was during the presidency of Steuart Pittman, and...

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The Baltimore Sun accuses Governor Hogan of using horse facility as a political pawn?

The Baltimore Sun recently accused Governor Hogan of using the horses industry as a political pawn; click here to read the Sun’s editorial on the Maryland Board of Public Works denial of $2.3 million in Program Open Space funding to build an indoor equestrian facility at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Hunt Valley. Is he really? This editorial certainly makes Gov. Hogan sound unfriendly to our industry. In the opinion of The Equiery, Hogan’s administration has been quite supportive of reasonable projects related to our industry, including the effort by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (which is housed within the Maryland Department of Agriculture) and the Maryland Stadium Authority to build a Maryland Horse Park Network by enhancing our existing facilities. Governor Hogan also restored funding to Program Open Space, a critical initiative for land preservation, one that is near and dear to the equestrian community. In reading the Sun’s editorial, we feel that the Sun is perhaps using the horse industry as a political pawn, and not Governor Hogan. It is rather inflammatory and illogical to tar any Governor or legislative leader as “anti” anything when funding for a project is not approved. Sometimes the the intent of the project is good, but the economics of it could be better. Perhaps the source for the requested funding is not appropriate, and there are other sources. Such is often the...

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Kudos for the WSSC

The Equiery has run editorials critical of WSSC (the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which 6,000 acres around the Patuxent watershed), so – in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it appropriate to run kudos to WSSC! Below, longtime Equiery reader Debby Poole expresses her appreciation to the employees of the WSSC. I wanted to thank the WSSC watershed manager, Eddie Franceschi for another fantastic year of riding the beautiful equestrian trails on the WSSC. I moved to Burtonsville, Maryland onto Belle Cote Drive when I was 15 years old. I got my first horse when I turned...

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