Iowa HBPA applauds Sen. Grassley for leading way to get answers from FTC, HISA over implementation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sent on behalf of the Iowa HBPA

Media Contact: Jon Moss, executive director, IA HBPA (515) 967-4804

Iowa HBPA applauds Sen. Grassley for leading way to get answers from FTC, HISA over implementation

(Photo: Senator Chuck Grassley. Courtsey Grassley.Senate.Gov)

Link to Senator Grassley’s letter

ALTOONA, IA (Tuesday, June 28, 2022) – Seven-term U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the second-most senior Member of the United States Senate, yesterday sent a forceful letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) demanding answers to questions about their failure to comply with the enabling federal legislation’s deadline of July 1 for implementation.

Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) representatives — in suggesting that significant aspects of HISA are not ready to implement — have repeatedly blamed what they call a tight deadline on Congress. However, that has not stopped HISA from delaying other key portions of the legislation. That includes the legislation’s centerpiece, the Anti-Doping and Medication Control program, which the Authority has announced as delayed until January 2023.

Senator Grassley was joined by U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (IA), John Kennedy (LA) and Joe Manchin (WV) in signing the letter and requesting by what authority the FTC and the Authority are delaying statutorily-mandated deadlines for components of the legislation.

“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.”

The stated role of HISA is to provide uniformity of racing regulations across state lines with the overarching mission of improving safety for the industry’s equine and human participants. That’s a goal that the Iowa and National HBPA have long championed, Moss said. However, HISA has been criticized for instead being an unfunded mandate that needlessly creates a deep web of bureaucratic red tape that provides more window dressing than substantive policy changes that will improve safety for racing participants.

In addition, Senator Grassley’s letter questions if the Authority consulted appropriate industry representatives before issuing regulations that appeared to ignore volumes of public comment pointing out deficiencies.

“Recent news reports also highlight that the Authority will postpone enforcement of newly approved rules regarding horseshoes and riding crop specifications, initially set to take effect on July 1, 2022 under the Racetrack Safety Program,” Senator Grassley’s letter states in part. “This is also concerning because we understand the initial rules were functionally impossible for industry participants to implement due to limited supply chain availability of horseshoes and riding crops. This raises questions about what industry representatives were consulted in the drafting of the rule.”

Grassley continues: “And now, only one week before the rule was set to take effect, the Authority published a notice announcing a one-month delay in enforcement of these rules. 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.”

Also in the letter, Senator Grassley and his colleagues question the FTC’s ability “to effectively provide oversight of the Authority and ensure it complies with HISA.”

The FTC in March approved without exception all the Racetrack Safety regulations propounded by the Authority. The rubber-stamp order accepted without issue all of the Authority’s proposed safety rules, even as it recognized that many of the comments by industry stakeholders were useful and constructive to improve the regulations.

National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback’s statement on Senator Grassley’s letter

Representatives address/emails/phone numbers below:

Congressman Markwayne Mullin
2421 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2701 Fax: (202) 225-3038 -6:00pm ET US Representative Kevin Hern 1019 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2211
Fax: (202) 225-9187

Congressman Frank Lucas
2405 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5565

Tom Cole
2207 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6165
Fax: (202) 225-3512

Stephanie Bice
1223 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2132
Fax: 202-226-1463

Jim Inhofe
205 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Fax: 202-228-0380

James Lankford
316 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5754 | |

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Edward J. DeBartolo (at that time, the owner of Balmoral, Thistledown and Louisiana Downs) built Remington Park in Oklahoma City as a $100 million showcase for Thoroughbred racing. The inaugural race meet during the fall of 1988 was an opportunity for Oklahoma Thoroughbred horsemen to race in their home state and for horsemen from throughout the region to enjoy Oklahoma’s hospitality.

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