FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Legislation created to reform the horseracing industry has unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, led by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), is set to create an independent regulatory authority that will establish uniform safety and competition standards throughout the Thoroughbred horseracing industry.
If passed into law, the authority will address medication use, track conditions, and other safety standards through a independent, non-governmental regulatory body. The authority will be overseen by the Federal Trade Commission.
“With today’s HISA passage in the House, we continue our momentum and move one step closer toward historic reform for the horse racing industry,” Congressman Barr said in a release. “This legislation, developed through a highly deliberative and bipartisan process, will ensure the safety of our equine athletes and increase the popularity, public confidence, and international competitiveness of the sport. I want to thank my House colleagues for supporting this legislation which will usher in a new era for this great Kentucky, and great American, industry.”
The vote is the first time a piece of legislation federally recognizing an independent horseracing regulatory authority has passed a chamber of Congress, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office.
The new bill was announced by McConnell in August during a conference at Keeneland in Lexington. On Monday, he provided a statement of support for the legislation’s passing.
“Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it’s earned the approval of the House. Today’s vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans,” McConnell said. “I’d like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as work continues to pass this bill into law.”
The legislation will now head to the US Senate, where McConnell will work towards passage of the bill into law.