The state of Louisiana has joined a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2021 that would create a national regulatory oversight board for medication and safety issues in Thoroughbred racing.
The legislation passed both Houses of Congress as part of an omnibus spending bill late last year and was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. It creates an independent, non-governmental agency, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, which is expected to contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The Federal Trade Commission is charged with reviewing the Authority’s policies.
Louisiana joins two other states, Oklahoma and West Virginia, in challenging the constitutionality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and seeks an injunction to prevent the Authority from assuming its responsibilities by July 2022, as required by the law. That suit, which also includes the United States Trotting Association as a plaintiff, was filed in April.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement concerning the decision to join the suit:
“HISA requires the unelected Authority to exercise regulatory authority over horseracing in Louisiana, mandates our State to assist the Authority, and forces us to choose between remitting funds to the Authority or losing some of our powers of taxation. This violation of the Tenth Amendment would have devastating effects to our State and the thousands of Louisianans in the horse industry,” said Landry.
“While I believe that horses should be treated humanely and horseracing should be held to the highest degree of integrity, I know that more bureaucracy from an overreaching and unaccountable fiefdom is not the way to achieve these goals,” Landry continued. “We should continue our Legislature’s decades-long delegation of police powers over the industry to the Louisiana State Racing Commission, knowledgeable participants who have collected significant fees and taxes while enforcing our statutes and regulations concerning the health and safety of equine athletes and all other industry participants throughout Louisiana.”
The Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which already joined an earlier suit filed by the National HBPA and several affiliates, issued a statement by its president, Benard Chatters.
“The actions of Attorney General Jeff Landry in opposing the HISA law demonstrates his genuine concern for the well-being of the Louisiana horse racing and breeding industry and its participants throughout the State as well as our equine athletes,” Chatters said.
“The Louisiana Horsemen appreciate and respect the unwavering support of Attorney General Jeff Landry, which he has consistently shown to the Louisiana horse racing and breeding industry throughout our State,” said Ed Fenasci, executive director of the Louisiana HBPA.
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