For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Ok, December 7, 2022 –
Help us help you: Tell Congress horse racing needs a strategic, legal alternative to HISA with all stakeholders at the table.
In the wake of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruling the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and its resulting Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) unconstitutional, the No. 1 question we get is: What now?
We hope you find the synopsis below helpful – including what we are doing and how YOU can assist as we work for national policy that truly makes our industry better without trampling on the Constitution or forcing tracks and horsemen out of business under HISA’s crushing financial burden.
Where we stand now (legal updates at bottom):
HISA supporters are beginning to mobilize on Capitol Hill, and we are doing the same. We might not have their massive funding, but our advantage is that we are confident many more people agree with our position that HISA is fatally flawed and there’s a far better — and legal — path forward by working with ALL stakeholders, not just those with the deepest pockets.
HISA and its allies will seek a quick fix; what they are inaccurately calling a “technical corrections” bill that they will most likely try and slip into the end-of-year spending bill, better known as the Omnibus. This would follow the tactic they used to get HISA passed in the first place by sneaking it into the 2020 COVID relief bill, allowing it to pass without a single Senate committee hearing or debate.
While no text has leaked yet, we believe this “quick fix” effort is likely to make the Authority constitutional by ceding a majority of its power back to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an agency that is wholly unfamiliar with our industry. Ceding additional powers to the FTC is not the answer.
We believe this quick solution may receive significant pushback from Members of Congress, including from among Members who previously supported HISA and those who had no idea it was in the COVID bill. We need you to encourage and reinforce this pushback.
Here’s what you can do:
Contact your U.S. Representative.
Contact your U.S. Senators.
We encourage affiliates to consider going barn to barn on the backstretch to help people fill this out on their phone. Here’s a template for an email message that can be copied:
“Recently, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act (passed when slipped into the year-end omnibus in 2020) is unconstitutional. I agree. HISA was created with an extremely expensive quick fix and the result has been not only a trampling on the Constitution and mass confusion, but a serious threat to the existence of smaller racetracks and a likelihood of running many racehorse owners and trainers – as well as the small businesses that depend on horsemen — out of business. This new bureaucracy’s crushing costs are being passed on to tracks and horsemen with no transparency, no meaningful oversight, and no significant representation. An industry as complex and wide-ranging as ours deserves thoughtful legislation. Rushing a “quick fix” will not correct the problems identified in the Circuit Court’s unanimous opinion. It must be done strategically and with input from the industry as a whole. Please block any effort by HISA or its supporters for another quick fix that got us in this mess in the first place. Our horsemen’s representatives want 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. We appreciate your support.”
What a Member of Congress says:
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals—Oral arguments scheduled