UPDATE, POSTED 1:45 P.M., SEPT. 29, 2020
LEXIGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1754 by a voice vote Tuesday, sending it on to the Senate.
The measure has attracted increasing support across the horse racing industry and animal welfare groups since first being introduced in August.
“With today’s HISA passage in the House, we continue our momentum and move one step closer toward historic reform for the horse racing industry,” said Republican 6th District U.S. Rep. Andy Barr who has spearheaded the reform movement in the House and worked to get the legislation approved.. “This legislation, developed through a highly deliberative and bipartisan process, will ensure the safety of our equine athletes and increase the popularity, public confidence, and international competitiveness of the sport. I want to thank my House colleagues for supporting this legislation which will usher in a new era for this great Kentucky, and great American, industry.”
The vote marked the first time legislation to federally recognize an independent horseracing regulatory authority has passed a chamber of Congress.
Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped bring the groups together and filed the companion legislation in the Senate, praised the House action.
“Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it’s earned the approval of the House. Today’s vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans,” said McConnell. “I’d like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as work continues to pass this bill into law.”
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 3 p.m. SEPT. 28, 2020
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Tuesday on H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill 46-5 earlier in the month.
The bill mirrors S. 4547 – legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. and promises to end doping ad other issues in Thoroughbred racing in America.
The proposal includes a ban on race-day doping and the establishment of a uniform national standard for rules and regulations for U.S. horseracing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
It also addresses racetrack safety standards.
“This anti-doping legislation will modernize horseracing in the U.S., put the welfare of the horses at the center of the enterprise, and hold the industry to a higher standard that mirrors the rest of the world,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action who testified before Congress on the issue in January
The doping of American racehorses has been the subject of Congressional attention for almost a decade with horses dying on racetracks, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March 2020.
The bill has the support of Animal Wellness Action (AWA), the Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF), and key players throughout the horse racing industry, including all three Triple Crown racetracks. Churchill Downs, which runs the Kentucky Derby, is the most recent corporation to get on board. The effort continues to enjoy the support of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI), which includes The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup, Keeneland Racecourse, the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and AWA and AWF.
The measure is also supported by all three Triple Crown Races and their parent companies.
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 the human and equine athletes. Enactment of the HISA will address these problems head on while helping to enhance the public’s interest in this very important industry.