Washington, D.C. – Landmark legislation to reform the horse racing industry unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) led by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), creates a new independent regulatory authority responsible for establishing uniform safety and competition standards for Thoroughbred horse racing. HISA now heads to the U.S. Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leading the effort for its passage.
“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,” said Congressman Barr. “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.”
“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,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. “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.”
“After nearly six years working to advance this bipartisan legislation to modernize horseracing in the United States, we are at long last rounding the final turn,” said Congressman Tonko. “Our Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act puts the health and well-being of our equine athletes and jockeys firmly at the center of the sport, and delivers commonsense medication and track safety standards that will lift this noble sport to higher standards of integrity and safety. These long overdue reforms will help restore public trust in the sport and put it on a path to a long and vital future, supporting countless jobs and driving economic activity in communities across our nation. I thank my longtime collaborator and friend, Congressman Barr, for leading with me in this effort to restore integrity to our sport of kings. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to advance their companion legislation without delay and deliver it swiftly to the President to sign into law.”
“Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko are to be congratulated for their determination and bipartisan leadership as sponsors of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act,” said Staci Hancock, Managing Member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA). “After years of negotiations and grassroots efforts, we celebrate the passage of the HISA today in the House of Representatives, a measure that is good for our horses and good for horse racing. This milestone is a monumental step forward in reaching WHOA’s goal of drug free racing under the independent oversight and management of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).”
“Rep. Barr knows how important horse racing is to Kentucky and how important the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is to horse racing,” said James L. Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Jockey Club. “His and Rep. Tonko’s commitment to getting the act passed in the House is worthy of our deep gratitude. Greater welfare for our equine and human athletes and a safer, more respectable sport are one step closer to being a reality thanks to their dedication and hard work.”
“The leadership provided by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is a must for American racing to survive,” said Ted Kuster from Shawhan Place. “Rules and regulations must be the same in all states, and this act will ensure that happens. I would like to thank Rep. Barr for his perseverance in getting this bill where it is today.”
“As an owner and breeder, nothing is more important to me than the welfare of my horses,” said Antony Beck President and CEO of Gainesway Farm. “Horses are the heart of this industry, and they deserve our respect. There is no place in our sport for race-day medication, and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will ensure our horses race medication-free.”
Congressman Barr has advocated for the development of uniform standards of competition in horseracing since entering Congress in 2013. On August 31, Congressman Barr and Leader McConnell announced a consensus among prominent equine industry stakeholders that builds on the prior version of the Horseracing Integrity Act and was essential in progressing this legislation.