Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law

Reps. Paul Tonko (left) and Andy Barr

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is now law.

The legislation passed by the Senate on Dec. 21 that will put anti-doping/medication control and safety programs under the umbrella of one independent, non-governmental Authority, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was part of a 5,500-plus page, $2.3 trillion bipartisan government funding bill that included $900 billion in coronavirus relief extending unemployment benefits and providing up to $600 in cash payments to individuals. President Donald Trump, whose Treasury Department officials helped negotiate the package, had threatened to veto the bill, in part demanding that the $600 individual benefits be increased to $2,000.

On Sunday night, Trump signed the bill into law.

A previously formed nominating committee can now move forward in naming the nine members who will comprise the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (five independent members from outside of the horse industry, four from within the industry but without current investments or conflicts of interest). The Authority has been charged with contracting with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee the anti-doping/medication control program on a national basis.

Two working committees also will be named. For more information on what comes next, read answers to frequently asked questions, as supplied by Marc Summers, vice president and general counsel for The Jockey Club, which helped steer the legislation through Congress.

Passage of the legislation, originally supported by the grassroots Water Hay Oats Alliance and sponsored in the House of Representatives by Democrat Paul Tonko of New York and Republican Andy Barr of Kentucky, was years in the making. It got fast-tracked earlier this year when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw his support behind it after Churchill Downs came on board and joined with other major racing organizations. It passed the House in September on a voice vote and was part of the omnibus bill passed overwhelmingly by the Senate Dec. 21.

Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, issued the following statement on Monday: “The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passed the US Congress last week and was signed by the President Sunday night.  This passage signifies the beginning of a new era in the storied history of the horse racing industry. The landmark legislation will establish a uniform approach to better protect horses and jockeys, and to bolster the strength and fairness of the sport.

“USADA is honored and grateful to be tasked with the anti-doping duties outlined in the Act. We are excited to spend the near future contributing to the design of a robust set of rules and customizing our gold-standard athlete service and testing model to ensure clean competition for equine athletes.

”Thank you to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his leadership in getting this bill through Congress, and to Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) the original cosponsors of the Horseracing Integrity Act.

“USADA welcomes the opportunity to partner with horse racing stakeholders to develop uniform rules and to implement robust independent testing and enforcement that will contribute to the longevity and legacy of the sport of horse racing.”

The omnibus legislation that is now law includes other measures beneficial to the horse industry, including continuation of H-2B visa programs for foreign workers and extension of three-year tax depreciation for purchase of racehorses and COVID relief for small businesses in the horse business.

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