Louisiana Congressman Introduces Legislation To Replace HISA - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Louisiana Congressman Introduces Legislation To Replace HISA

A press release from the office of Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) has indicated that he will introduce the Racehorse Health and Safety Act of 2023 (RHSA), which would protect the health and welfare of racing horses and improve the integrity and safety of horse racing.

“It takes into account horsemen's input (and) veterinary science,” Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, told the Associated Press. “It allows for horses to be given proper care in the best interest of equine health and welfare. And it's constitutional.”

In December 2020, through an omnibus bill, Congress passed the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act (HISA), which was later signed into law by President Trump. HISA was passed with the intention of bringing uniformity to the horse racing industry by establishing a wide set of rules that would be implemented and enforced by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

Since its passage, which Congressman Higgins opposed, HISA has been riddled with legal setbacks.

The Racehorse Health and Safety Act would:

  • Repeal the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA).
  • Grant states the right to enter into the interstate compact, which is a contract between multiple states to develop nationwide rules governing scientific control and racetrack safety for horse racing.
  • Establish the Racehorse Health and Safety Organization (RHSO) which will regulate the horse racing industry.
  • Establish three Scientific Medication Control Committees (SMCCs) to draft recommended rules for each breed.

“Government should be a partner to Americans, not a predator,” said Congressman Higgins. “This legislation brings Constitutional liberties and rights to the forefront, protecting the horse racing industry and the beautiful animals that we love.”

This legislation is endorsed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association (HBPA), the United Trotting Association (USTA), the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV), and others.

“I firmly believe that there are members of Congress who were instrumental in bringing HISA about, who are seeing all the trouble that HISA is causing, and they're looking for a good way out,” Russell Williams, president of the board of the U.S. Trotting Association, told AP. “And if we can convince them that RHSA is a better way — and that's our whole mission — then I think it gets passed.”

Read the legislation here.

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