Senators Press Federal Trade Commission For Answers About HISA's 'Chaotic Implementation Process' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Senators Press Federal Trade Commission For Answers About HISA’s ‘Chaotic Implementation Process’

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and John Kennedy (R-La.) are pressing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (the Authority) for answers on its implementation and enforcement of certain guidelines under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Specifically, the senators draw attention to the Anti-Doping and Medication Control program, which HISA requires to be implemented by July 1, 2022. However, the Authority has already stated it would not meet that deadline.

“HISA required the Authority to issue the rule for Anti-Doping and Medication Control not later than 120 days before the program effective date of July 1, 2022. This deadline has passed, and it appears the Authority failed to meet the statutory requirements. The FTC requires the Authority to submit any proposed rule at least 90 days before the proposed rule is to be published in the Federal Register for public comment. We are also not aware of any request or approval of a waiver of this requirement,” the lawmakers wrote.

Additionally, the senators raise concerns about new rules regarding horseshoes and riding crop specifications – initially set to take effect on July 1 under the Racetrack Safety Program – that were impossible for industry stakeholders to implement due to supply chain issues.

“This chaotic implementation process and poor communication by the Authority makes it difficult for industry participants to comply with the new rules and regulations. Additionally, continuously changing implementation dates for new rules and regulations, and last minute delays, cause more confusion and difficulty with implementation,” the lawmakers continued.

Grassley, Manchin, Ernst and Kennedy further argue that the Authority's haphazard approach to setting fee structures will leave racetracks “without the certainty and transparency they need to budget for the current and future racing seasons.”

In conclusion, the senators ask the FTC and the Authority to explain why the July 1 deadline to implement the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program will not be met, answer for their failure to issue a rule prior to the date required by HISA and clarify whether experts and stakeholders were consulted in the initial drafting of these rules.

Full text of the letter is available HERE.

Statement from the Iowa Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association:

“Senator Grassley is a well-known and influential figure in the Senate representing Iowans,” said Jon Moss, executive director of the Iowa Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association. “The Senator's letter to the Federal Trade Commission and Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is just another strong indication of his continued review of federal issues and how they affect his constituents here at home.

“We as the Iowa HBPA are incredibly grateful for his leadership on this issue, and he clearly has his facts in order. To us it appears the Senator won't put up with a disregard for federal law, nor should he, and nor should the horsemen in the state of Iowa. We welcome his continued review and engagement regarding this law.”

Statement from Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA (NHBPA):

“We join our Iowa affiliate in praising Senator Chuck Grassley and his Senate colleagues for taking a leadership role in demanding answers to many of the same questions we have been asking for months without response. Hardworking, day-to-day horsemen and horsewomen want safe and clean horse racing, and the Authority is failing in its duty to realize this goal. The Authority and HISA staff are populated with members who do not offer a true inclusive representation for the entire industry, and because of that we are seeing what lack of proper input from all participants causes. They are brazenly violating federal law by missing deadlines and staff are admitting in public forums that the FTC gave them permission to do so. We fully support Senator Grassley's efforts to find out why this is happening.”

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