Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Signed Into Law

POSTED ON  |  03-01-2021

Donald Trump signing law
On the evening of Dec. 27, President Donald Trump signed into law an omnibus bill to provide government funding and pandemic aid. Signage of the bill removed the threat of a partial government shutdown that would have started Dec. 29 after a temporary spending law expired.  Included in the $2.3 trillion package is the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act, a piece of landmark industry legislation that will overhaul oversight of racing's drug and medication rules and its equine drug testing. 

The Senate advanced the HISA Dec. 21 after the legislation had already passed in the House of Representatives. The House action followed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky) voicing his support for the legislation—with some tweaks to the previous House bill—in an Aug. 31 press conference at Keeneland. The House bill was updated to include those changes and approved about a month later.

On the House side, the bipartisan legislation was championed by Andy Barr (Republican, Kentucky) and Rep. Paul Tonko (Democrat, New York). They had noted the state-to-state approach in regulating medication and drug testing had lacked uniformity, relied too much on post-race testing, and too often sees active participants—or people with close ties to the sport's participants—making decisions from their roles on regulatory boards.

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