We posted what the United States Trotting Association has to say about the HISA. They do not like it. They say it is unconstitutional.
We posted what the American Quarter Horse Association has to say about the HISA. They do not like it. They say it lacks detail “concerning funding sources that would sustain the proposed authority” and “of particular concern to AQHA is the proposed elimination of race-day use of the medication furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, which is used to mitigate the occurrence of exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in racehorses.”
As it stands, it is our understanding that the pending legislation referred to herein pertains to Thoroughbred, Quarter, and Standardbred horse racing only.
In case you missed it, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is not a new bill but instead Kentucky’s U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s hijacked version of H.R. 1754, Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Yeas and Nays: 46 – 5 on 09/09/2020.
The U.S. House Commerce Committee reported the bill out, for a possible vote by the entire House of Representatives before the end of the year, a stunningly quick action.
Also on 09/09/2020 McConnell introduced his U.S. Senate version of the bill — S.4547 — which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Here is the bill’s description on Congress.gov as of this writing:
“This bill establishes the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority as an independent, private non-profit corporation with responsibility for developing and administering an anti-doping and medication control program for (1) Thoroughbred, Quarter, and Standardbred horses that participate in horse races; and (2) the personnel engaged in the care, training, or racing of such horses.
“The Federal Trade Commission shall have oversight over the authority. An interstate compact may be established after five years to take over the authority’s duties.”
WHAT? Establishes the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority as an independent, private non-profit corporation. Seriously?
What happened to USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency), designated with oversight in the original bill? Why a private non-profit corporation? Who will be on that board?
Also worrisome. An interstate compact may be established after five years to take over the authority’s duties?
Watch out hens. Not one but numerous foxes are circling the henhouse.
Enter the California Horse Racing Board
“Although the meeting lasted more than three hours following public comment by people opposed to racing, few issues resulted in a lengthy debate by commissioners. Instead, it was an opening statement during the early part of the teleconference meeting, in which executive director Scott Chaney discussed the HISA, which drew the most spirited discussion.” Indeed. Here are some quotes.
“I think it is fair to say we have several concerns with this legislation,” he said. “One, the language is very ambiguous when it comes to actual details regarding funding, budget, amount of regulatory oversight, and duplication of state regulatory functions; two, the fate and budget of (the laboratory) at UC Davis, one of the premier equine testing laboratories in the world; three, the rollback of California regulations, particularly those related to safety, which are among the strictest in the nation; four, the magnitude of the regulatory function that an authority that does not currently exist is attempting to take on; and five, the incremental costs, which will be passed on to stakeholders.
“To be clear, national standards are a laudable goal, but it is less clear how California, which enjoys a robust, mature, well-funded regulatory structure, will benefit.” Enjoys a robust, mature, well-funded regulatory structure? No comment.
In the meantime, CHRB Commissioner Dennis Alfieri mentioned, “I think we need to stay on the front end of this thing now, instead of the back of the bus.”
Chaney responded he would meet with commissioner Wendy Mitchell to discuss whether the CHRB could work to shape the legislation.
And the beat goes on.
Featured Image: Horses run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2., 2019. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images).
UPDATED 9:10pm EST 9/25/20