Second Civil Suit From Oklahoma, West Virginia Racing Authorities Questions Constitutionality Of HISA

The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act (HISA) is facing a second legal challenge after Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced this week he is filing a federal lawsuit calling into question the act’s constitutionality. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Kentucky, includes a number of plaintiffs, including the states of Oklahoma and West Virginia and their racing commissions, the U.S. Trotting Association and Pennsylvania-based Hanover Shoe Farm, as well as the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association and a number of track ownership entities in Oklahoma. Defendants include the United States, the Federal Trade Commission, and a number of individuals working for the FTC and the HISA nominating committee.

This suit, much like one filed in March by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and a number of its state affiliates, questions the ability of HISA to delegate regulation to a private group while not making it accountable to a government organization. The suit questions the new authority’s relationship to the FTC, which critics say can only approve or deny new rules, but has no substantive input on their construction.

The Oklahoma suit also objects to the funding mechanism that has been laid out for the new authority.

After creating this vast new federal regulatory structure and delegating it to a private corporation, Congress disclaimed any responsibility for funding the Authority itself,” reads an excerpt from the suit. “Instead, it forced the funding responsibility onto the states, imposing on them the choice of either funding the Authority with state funds or, if a state refuses, collecting fees directly from racing industry participants in that state while punishing the state by banning it from collecting similar taxes or fees itself.”

The suit seeks a declaration that HISA is unconstitutional and wants the court to stop its implementation. The suit also seeks “nominal damages.”

Read the complaint here.

The Jockey Club, which was a major player in pushing HISA forward, has previously said it believes the act is on solid ground in terms of its constitutionality.

The post Second Civil Suit From Oklahoma, West Virginia Racing Authorities Questions Constitutionality Of HISA appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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