February 24, 2015

Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Horse Racing Industry Bill

The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee Tuesday approved legislation that makes substantial regulatory changes necessary to protect and bolster Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry, according to Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Butler), Majority Chair of the Committee chairman and prime sponsor of the bill.
Senate Bill 352 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“This legislation will bring the regulations regarding the horseracing industry into the 21st Century,” said Sen. Vogel. “The parameters and guidelines for the oversight of the racing industries in Pennsylvania have not be updated in over twenty years despite drastic changes in the way the industry is funded, raced and regulated. The Senate unanimously approved this measure last session and hopefully we can take the next step and get it to the Governor’s desk and enacted into law this year.”
Senate Bill 352 makes a number of substantial and essential changes to the state’s oversight of the horse racing industry. One major change dissolves the separate state commissions under the Department of Agriculture for thoroughbred and harness racing in favor of a single oversight commission.
“We have seen the economic benefits of our racing industries. Purses, racing days, employees and horses operating at our tracks have all increased. At the same time, the regulation of the industry has become more expensive and complex,” Sen. Vogel said. “My bill makes a number of changes to licensure, fines, fees and the pari-mutual tax structure to properly fund regulatory oversight and drug testing.”
A sponsor summary of the bill is available online.
Sen. Judith Schwank (D-Berks) serves as Minority Chair.