What Happens Next? Interstate Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act FAQs

With Monday’s late-night passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act as part of an omnibus government spending bill, there are many questions about when the newly created Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will begin to take shape and begin its national oversight of medication policies and safety standards for the sport, how it will be governed, and what it will cost.

To get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, we went to Marc Summers, vice president and general counsel for The Jockey Club, which helped steer the legislation through the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

When will the Authority be operational?
By law, the latest it can go into effect is July 1, 2022, and it could be much earlier than that. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will first have to approve the anti-doping and medication control program and racetrack safety program. The FTC will review programs developed by the Authority, allow for public comment, and once approved it will go into effect.

Once President Trump signs the legislation, what happens next?
The key will be for the previously established nominating committee to continue their work, looking at all suggestions received from the industry and public about who should fill the nine positions on the Authority board of directors. Five of the board members will fill independent seats, with four seats to be filled by industry representatives – from among owners, breeders, trainers, racetracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions and jockeys. No more than one from each equine constituency group is permitted on the board at any time. Industry representatives on the board may not currently serve as an official or officer with an of equine industry representative group or have a financial interest in, or provide goods and services to, covered horses.

The board chairman shall be an independent member.

Two standing committees – an anti-doping and medication control committee and a racetrack safety committee – will also be appointed with four independent members and three industry members. The chair of the anti-doping and medication control committee shall be an independent member and the chair of the safety committee shall be an industry member.

How soon could the board and committee members be in place?
Summers said he is not counsel to the Authority but understands the nominating committee may have a board in place during the first quarter of 2021, with committee memberships to follow.

When and how does the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) come into play?
USADA is identified within the bill as the anti-doping and medication control enforcement entity. What will get them directly involved is execution of an agreement between the Authority and USADA, but the Authority’s board will have to be in place before that happens.

When will it be determined exactly what the cost will be to racing participants?
That’s going to evolve. There will be an initial budget for the Authority covering 2021. But until the anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety programs go live, the Authority will not be assessing the states. More will be known early in 2022.

There is a misconception that the Authority’s cost will be allocated to individual members on a per-start basis. That is not true. Budgets will be allocated to individual states based upon the total anticipated number of starts in that state for the succeeding year, and it will be up to each state to determine how the money will be raised and whether a per-start fee or some other form of calculation will be used.

Will riding crop rules fall under the safety aspect of the Authority? What other activities would the Authority regulate?
Riding crop rules would fall within this in that it involves in-race and workout safety. There also may be some rules regarding racetrack surfaces, pre-race vet exams and such.

What opportunities are there for horsemen to have input with the Authority
Enshrined in the HISA, when the Authority has proposed rules, they go to the FTC for approval, and there is a requirement for public comment.  Furthermore, the HISA allows for horsemen to be on the Authority’s board and representatives from horsemen’s groups can also serve on  the Authority’s standing committees.

What will happen to existing state racing commissions?
By the language in the statute, the racing commission rules with regard to anti-doping medication control and racetrack safety will be pre-empted. Commissions do significantly more than that, including licensing, establishing and overseeing rules of racing, overseeing operation of stewards and variety of other activities.  This will lighten the load on commissions and allow them to focus on those other areas. Also, the HISA expressly contemplates that USADA and the Authority may work with state racing commissions in implementing the Authority’s programs. We can anticipate seeing many states playing a significant role in boots-on-the ground anti-doping activities such as sample collections and investigations.

The post What Happens Next? Interstate Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act FAQs appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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