Congress passes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, President expected to sign

Horse racing action, hooves, legs and grass

In an effort to promote safety and transparency in the sport of horse racing, the U.S. Senate gave final approval to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act late Monday as part of an omnibus, year-end government funding bill. The bill now goes to President Trump’s desk to become law.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced in September by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not long after the delayed running of the 146th Kentucky Derby.

“Kentucky’s cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I’m proud the Senate agreed to my legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it,” said Senator McConnell. “With the leadership of Congressman Andy Barr and the partnership of sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, we’re one step closer to promoting fairness and safety across Thoroughbred racing. As Majority Leader, I made this Kentucky-focused legislation a top priority in the Senate. I look forward to this major advancement for our beloved sport becoming law.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in September led by efforts from Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr and other Congress members in areas with prominent race tracks.

“With today’s passage of HISA in Congress we are in the final stretch of achieving the most transformational and consequential reform of the Thoroughbred horseracing industry since enactment of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978,” said Congressman Barr. “I am proud to champion this historic, bipartisan legislation with Congressman Paul Tonko and Leader McConnell and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law.”

This landmark legislation for the equine industry creates the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to oversee the sport’s drug testing, anti-doping, and equine medication policies, thus taking that responsibility away from regulators at the state level. Industry leaders expect this new authority will provide uniformity and improved integrity for the sport as a whole.

“We appreciate our federal delegation for leading the charge on this important bill for one of Kentucky’s signature industries,” said Ashli Watts, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “The equine industry has a major impact on our state economy, and the Kentucky Chamber was in full support of this legislation to promote transparency in the sport and improve safety standards for our equine athletes.”

Under the new legislation, the Federal Trade Commission would have oversight of the authority and the United States Anti-Doping Agency would serve as the authority’s enforcement arm.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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