Statement from National HBPA

December 20, 2022

On the Senate’s one-sentence ‘fix’ for the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act:

By CEO Eric Hamelback and General Counsel Peter Ecabert

Last night, Congressional leaders released text of a 4,000+ page omnibus spending bill, which includes an amendment to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The proposed amendment would delete the power of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draft interim final rules. Instead, it would allow the FTC to strike, add to, or modify rules proposed by the HISA corporation for fair administration of the law. The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) CEO Eric Hamelback and General Counsel Peter Ecabert released the following statement:

“By including in this spending bill a so-called ‘fix’ to HISA, Congressional leaders are admitting that the law they added into the 2020 spending bill was unconstitutional, as we told them it was and as the Fifth Circuit ruled. I am disheartened that, once again, legislation governing the horseracing industry was crafted in the dark of night with no public hearings and virtually no industry input. You cannot fix a fundamentally broken law with one sentence. 

This amendment does not address other substantive issues, nor does it address the funding disaster that remains in the flawed Act. It is clear from the issues raised in the various lawsuits contesting the legal validity of HISA that this one-sentence ‘fix’ does not alleviate the glaring constitutional infirmities this law has created. The constitutional defects still include a non-federal private entity granted the power to levy taxes in violation of Article I, Tenth Amendment violations for anti-commandeering of states powers, Fourth and Seventh Amendment violations for lack of due process, and violations of the Administrative Procedures Act.

“For all the reasons we state above, the Act itself remains unconstitutional by handing the regulation of an entire industry over to an unelected, unaccountable private corporation. This fight is not over, and the National HBPA will go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to, in order to protect the interests of horsemen across the country.”

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