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Sen. Grassley, Rep. Gooden Lead Congressmen Urging FTC to Disapprove HISA Authority Rules

Five U.S. Senators joined five Congressmen yesterday strongly urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to disapprove the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) proposed Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program Rule that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) recently resubmitted. The bipartisan group of lawmakers stated the disapproval from the FTC was necessary to “avoid continued industry-wide confusion and potential inequitable enforcement.”

The FTC already had disapproved the medication control rule on December 12, 2022, until “the legal uncertainty regarding the Act’s constitutionality comes to be resolved,” the commission wrote.

The bicameral letter also strongly encouraged the FTC to clarify that the formerly approved racetrack safety rules are unenforceable at this time because HISA was declared unconstitutional by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November.

Signing the letter were Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Congressmen Lance Gooden (R-TX), Tom Cole (R- OK), Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

“I applaud Senator Grassley, Representative Gooden and all their co-signers for asking the FTC to state the obvious: HISA is unconstitutional; therefore, its rules cannot be enforced,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “Furthermore, the corporation under HISA is still enforcing the racetrack safety rules, even though, as the Congressmen point out, everyone agrees they were submitted and approved in accordance with a law that was ruled unconstitutional.

“The sheer fact that an amendment was written to ‘fix’ HISA proves without a shadow of doubt that the supporters of HISA supported an unconstitutional bill. This obvious disregard for the law is needlessly causing even more confusion. The wise thing for the HISA corporation to do is to take a self-imposed pause and let the courts sort things out before rushing to impose its will on horsemen.”

On December 29, 2022, Congress passed a so-called “HISA fix” that tweaked the law by giving the FTC limited ability to modify Authority rules. As a result, the Authority resubmitted the medication control rules and issued a public statement saying they are hopeful and optimistic that they will be able to implement them around mid-March.

“This blatantly premature statement caused immense confusion throughout the horseracing industry, and does not take into account that the 5th Circuit’s opinion has not been overturned nor has the Court issued a new opinion,” said Dr. Doug Daniels, President and Chairman of the National HBPA. “The FTC cannot be forced into approving the ADMC based on assumptions made from HISA’s corporation.”

Horse-racing constituents applauded the Senators and Congressmen for strongly expressing their concerns to the FTC.

Said Jon Moss, Executive Director for the Iowa HBPA: “We greatly appreciate Senator Grassley for continuing his support and leading the charge for horsemen and women in Iowa as well as throughout the country.”

Amy Cook, Executive Director for the Texas Racing Commission, praised Rep. Gooden, saying, “We appreciate Rep. Gooden recognizing the wide-ranging statutory conflict that exists in Texas. It is critical for all stakeholders to continue to send the message that regulatory certainty is paramount and therefore new federal rules should not be adopted while there is ongoing litigation related to HISA’s constitutionality.”

Grassley/Gooden bicameral letter to FTC

Grassley, Manchin Fight HISA Amendment

Grassley, Manchin want to remove a HISA-related amendment from spending legislation.

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have jointly filed an amendment that would strip changes to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from an omnibus spending bill being considered this week in Congress.

The single sentence added to the spending bill is intended to place the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority on sounder legal footing by clarifying the Federal Trade Commission’s oversight. This change is a reaction to a U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last month that determined HISA’s enabling legislation was unconstitutional on the grounds that it inappropriately gives federal power to a private organization.

Nine state attorneys general also reportedly sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky asking for the HISA language change not to be included in the spending bill, according to a Dec. 21 press release from the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The initial HISA legislation was adopted as part of the 2020 COVID-19 relief bill.

Grassley filed his amendment Dec. 19, and Manchin signed on as a sponsor.

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Anti-HISA Ruling Could Be Delayed for Months

Fifth Circuit refuses to order accelerated issuance of mandate.

 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in November ruled the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is unconstitutional, turned down a Dec. 15 request by the states and racing commissions of Louisiana and West Virginia to give the decision effect on Dec. 19. The upshot is enforcement of a lower court injunction against HISA could be delayed for months.

The two-line order denying the request was entered Dec. 16 by the same three Fifth Circuit judges who reversed a Texas federal district court ruling in favor of HISA. The lower court injunction against HISA was entered by a federal district court in Louisiana, which is also in the Fifth Circuit.

The Fifth Circuit’s anti-HISA decision cannot take effect unless and until a mandate issues. A publication of the American Bar Association says, “At its most basic, the mandate is the device by which an appellate court closes an appeal.”

 

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Attention all Louisiana Horsemen: Please help protect Louisiana Horse Racing

Several news outlets reported yesterday that Senator Mitch McConnell is promoting a “legislative correction” to the HISA laws now that a federal appeals court has concluded it is Unconstitutional. Once again, McConnell plans to bypass the normal process that would allow hearing and debate on his legislation by attaching his “fix” to a “Must Pass” bill such as a year ending spending bill. This path is like the way McConnell slipped the current law into Covid Relief legislation in 2020.

The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) has regulated horse racing in Louisiana for over a century. The LSRC is in the unique position to know what is best for Louisiana racing and Louisiana racing participants. The Commission and our Louisiana legislators work with industry participants to formulate laws and rules which protect our horses and jockeys and create a fair playing field for all participants.

The Louisiana HBPA urges all industry participants to contact your U.S. House Representative and your U.S. Senators (contact information provided below) and voice your opposition to these “back room” deals that circumvent your right to be heard. Specifically, ask your congressmen to block any effort by HISA for another quick fix that got us in this mess in the first place. Our horsemen’s representative wants to work with ALL parties for new, sensible legislation that allows our jobs-heavy industry and related agribusiness to thrive and improve, rather than to choke from ill-advised legislation snuck through by a well-financed minority.

You can use this link to identify and contact your Representative:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

 

Contact information for the U.S. Senators from Louisiana is:

Senator John Kennedy
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/
416 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-4623

Senator Bill Cassidy
https://www.cassidy.senate.gov/
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-5824

Federal Takeover of Louisiana Horse Racing Ruled Unconstitutional

Attorney General Jeff Landry: Louisiana Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, November 18, 2022

Federal Takeover of Louisiana Horse Racing Ruled Unconstitutional
AG Jeff Landry Wins Again at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has sided with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, ruling that the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act of 2021 (HISA) is facially unconstitutional under the private non-delegation doctrine.

In June, Attorney General Landry led a lawsuit challenging HISA – a measure ramrodded into the COVID relief bill that cedes much regulatory and taxation power of the State to an unelected and unaccountable nongovernmental entity. In July, Judge Terry Doughty of U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction preventing the rules from being enforced in Louisiana and West Virginia. Today, the entirety of HISA was brought down.

“This is a major victory for the rule of law and the horse industry. I am proud to deliver this win for the thousands of our neighbors who ply their trade as horse owners, trainers, jockeys, and more,” said Attorney General Landry. “This federal government overreach involved delegating unsupervised power to a private entity. I applaud my Solicitor General Liz Murrill and her deputy Shae McPhee for their tireless work in defense of federalism.”

Texas Congressman Introduces Legislation to Delay HISA

HISA is responsible for creating and implementing uniform safety and integrity rules.

Rep. Lance Gooden, a Texas Republican, introduced legislation Oct. 4 in the United States House of Representatives that would delay the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act until Jan. 1, 2024, according to a release distributed by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Some portions of the federal program created by the Act took effect in July, including the Racetrack Safety Program. HISA’s Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program is scheduled for implementation Jan. 1, 2023.

Groups from Texas and from a handful of other states are among those challenging the legality of HISA in court. Rulings from judges involved in separate legal cases are anticipated in the coming weeks or months.

 

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Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Establishes Horsemen’s Advisory Group to Expand Ongoing Collaboration

August 29, 2022 (Lexington, Ky) – Today, as promised in remarks made by HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus during the August 14 Jockey Club Round Table, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) formally announced its intent to establish a Horsemen’s Advisory Group to provide feedback to its executive team and Standing Committees on the implementation and evolution of HISA’s regulations and protocols. HISA is inviting all horsemen and women who wish to be considered for membership in the Advisory Group to email horsemenadvisory@hisaus.org indicating their interest and qualifications by Friday, September 9, 2022.

“We look forward to building upon our existing efforts to collaborate with participants in all facets of the sport by seeking more targeted input from active horsemen and women. Their hands-on experience will help ensure the practicality and effectiveness of our rules for all racing participants,” said Lazarus. “HISA is proud of and grateful for the unparalleled expertise that has informed the development of our regulations – the first ever national rules to govern our sport. As we continue the implementation phase of our mandate from Congress, HISA will benefit immensely from additional perspectives from the trainers and owners who are on the backside, standing trackside and in the racing office every day.”

HISA’s executive team will select a diverse group of 10-12 horsepersons with input from its Standing Committees and is seeking members who are involved in both small and large racing operations across the country to represent the broad array of viewpoints that make up the American horse racing community. Those interested should expect to participate in monthly meetings with HISA leadership and to serve as individual sounding boards on specific issues on which they may have unique knowledge or insights on a more frequent basis.

“Establishing the Horsemen’s Advisory Group will significantly enhance our regulatory system and allow us to account for the wide range of environments found at tracks across the U.S. as we continue to implement HISA’s safety and integrity programs,” said Ann McGovern, HISA Director of Racetrack Safety.

The Advisory Group’s membership is expected to be announced and hold its first monthly meeting in October.

Fourteen HBPA Affiliates, Four Tracks Seek To Join HISA Lawsuit

by Paulick Report Staff

 

An alliance of 14 affiliates of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and four racetracks are seeking protection from the alleged harms of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA). They are asking a federal judge to allow them to participate in an existing lawsuit that claims HISA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violated the Fourth and Seventh Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations, T. D. Thornton of Thoroughbred Daily News reports.

The HBPA affiliates and the tracks on Friday filed a “motion to intervene” in United States District Court (Western District of Louisiana). If accepted by the judge, it would grant the petitioners status in the case alongside the lead plaintiffs from the states of Louisiana and West Virginia.

The HBPA affiliates seeking to join the lawsuit are Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Charles Town, and Tampa Bay Downs. The Colorado Horse Racing Association, the state’s statutorily recognized horsemen’s group, also wants to be an intervenor.

 

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Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay, Lifting Injunction Against HISA In Louisiana, West Virginia

by Paulick Report Staff

 

The United States Court of Appeals has issued a temporary stay nullifying a July 26 injunction preventing the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority from enforcing its racetrack safety regulations in the states of Louisiana and West Virginia.

For now at least, the stay also makes moot the question of whether the injunction is limited to Louisiana and West Virginia or also applies to Jockeys’ Guild members riding Thoroughbred races in other states. The July 26 order by Terry Doughty, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division, stated that the “geographic scope of the injunction shall be limited to the states of Louisiana and West Virginia,” but also included the phrase “and as to all plaintiffs in this proceeding.”

Jockeys’ Guild Tries To Ban HISA Enforcement Nationwide

The Jockeys’ Guild has delivered on its promise to take “immediate action” against the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority if the newly created national regulatory agency continued to enforce riding crop rules following a federal judge’s order for an injunction blocking HISA from operating in Louisiana and West Virginia.

The injunction, ordered July 26 by U.S. District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty in the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division, limited the HISA ban to the states of Louisiana and West Virginia, but added the phrase  “and as to all plaintiffs in this proceeding.”

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., interpreted Doughty’s ruling to mean that all members of the Jockeys’ Guild are exempt wherever they are riding. HISA interpreted the language as applying only to the organization as a plaintiff and not its individual members. One Guild member, Gerard Melancon, was listed as a plaintiff.

 

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