The U.S. House of Representatives are scheduled to vote on H.R.1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), today, Tuesday, September 29.
According to the Leader’s Weekly Schedule the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
You can watch it live on C-SPAN. You must log in with your television provider in order to view C-SPAN Live Streams. If you cannot or have no wish to view it live, you can view it a recording of it at https://www.c-span.org/congress/.
This legislation impacts Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horses.
The doping of American racehorses has been the subject of Congressional attention over the past five years with hundreds of horses dying on racetracks weekly, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March of 2020.
Those for it
The patchwork of regulations across the U.S.’s 38 racing jurisdictions has undermined the public’s confidence in horseracing, threatened the integrity of competition, and endangered human and equine athletes.
Those in horse racing who support the HIFA are optimistic that the enactment of the HISA will address the above problems head on while helping to enhance the public’s interest in what they view as very important industry.
The racing industry is split. There seems to be just as many opposed to H.R.1754/S.4547 as there are in favor of it. Major horse racing groups seeking the passage of the bill have been spending heavily to achieve it. Many of them believe that horse racing in the U.S. many very well live or die by the success or failure of this piece of legislation. The rest insist on business as usual and let individual States deal with their problems.
It will pass
We have little doubt that H.R.1754 and its companion bill S.4547 will receive the necessary support to be successful in both the House and the Senate, thanks to the machinations of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The President will sign it into law if presented to him.
The following will give you an idea of how it will work. We are confident that you will see what we see if you decide to read it, and why the king of racehorse dopers Bob Baffert is not in the least bit concerned. The only plus we can see (if there can be such a thing) from the horse’s standpoint is that it puts racing under “one roof” so to speak which makes them vulnerable as an industry.
In order to create uniform performance and safety standards for the sport of horseracing, the HISA creates the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, which is a private, independent, self-regulatory, nonprofit organization. It will not be funded by the federal government — the horseracing industry will pay the funds necessary for the establishment and administration of the Authority. The Authority is tasked with developing and implementing both a horseracing anti-doping and medication control program and a racetrack safety program.
Composition of the Authority
The Authority will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of nine members. Five of those members will be independent of the industry, and four members will be experts from the following sectors of the industry: owners and breeders, trainers, racetracks, veterinarians, State racing commissions, and jockeys. To assist with the development of these programs, the Board will establish an anti-doping and medication control standing committee and a racetrack safety standing committee, both controlled by independent members outside the industry. All independent members of the Board and standing committees will be subject to strict conflict-of-interest standards.
The Authority will be required to create a set of uniform anti-doping rules, including lists of prohibited substances and methods, protocols around the administration of permitted substances, and laboratory testing accreditation and protocols. These permitted and prohibited substances and practices will be developed after taking into consideration international anti-doping standards and veterinarian ethical standards, along with consulting racing industry representatives and the public. The new nationwide rules would replace the current patchwork of regulatory systems that govern horseracing’s 38 separate racing jurisdictions. For services related to the enforcement of this program, the Authority shall enter into an agreement with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has a proven track record of conducting anti-doping and medication control activities for all U.S. Olympic athletes and its approach can easily be adapted to horseracing.
Racetrack Safety Program
To protect the health and safety of racehorses and jockeys, the Authority will also create a racetrack safety program, consisting of a uniform set of training and racing safety standards and protocols. Those standards include racetrack design and maintenance, oversight of human and equine injury reporting and prevention, and the procedures for undertaking investigations at racetrack and non-racetrack facilities related to safety violations. The Authority creates an accreditation program to ensure that racetracks comply with these safety procedures, and in order to continue to gather information on racetrack safety, the Authority will establish a nationwide database of racehorse safety, performance, health, and injury information within one year of the establishment of the program.