The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on September 9, following a bipartisan 46-5 vote. The bill was voted on by the House floor on September 29, passed, and is now expected to go to the Senate for review.
The bill, H.R. 1754, advanced with amendments that match legislation introduced in the Senate. The Senate legislation adopted many reform measures proposed in the original House bill, while adding additional track safety measures and programs to establish safety standards for training and racing, racetrack surfaces, injury-related data analysis, safety violation investigations, hearings, and sanctions.
The bill provides federal recognition and enforcement power for a Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards. The Authority would be an independent, non-governmental regulatory body responsible for setting national standards for track safety, anti-doping and medication rules, and lab protocols.
There is widespread support for the bill among Thoroughbred groups, but the United States
Trotting Association has announced its opposition to several elements of the proposed legislation. In a statement, USTA said, “While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports state-regulated, breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA strongly opposes the HISA for a number of reasons and sees several areas of significant concern to the Standardbred racing industry.” In particular, USTA objects to the ban on race-day use of Lasix, and argues that the funding mechanism for the new regulatory authority would fall disproportionately and unfairly on the harness industry. In addition, USTA objects to the mandated drug-testing authority being delegated to a private company that has no background in animal testing.
To read more from the Thoroughbred industry concerning this bill, click on the link below.