WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) championed by U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) in Congress for over a half decade, was signed into law by President Donald Trump. Congressman Barr partnered with U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) to gather over 200 cosponsors and lead HISA through the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led the bill to passage in the U.S. Senate.
“After six long years of engaging with industry stakeholders, equine advocates and lawmakers, historic reform to strengthen the thoroughbred horseracing industry is finally here,” said Congressman Barr. “This legislation is the most significant reform to Kentucky’s signature industry in over four decades, providing a uniform standard of competition as well as protection for equine athletes to ensure the industry thrives for generations to come. I want to thank Leader McConnell and Congressman Tonko for their partnership on this bill.”
“Kentucky’s cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I’m proud our legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it is now law,” said Senator McConnell. “With the leadership of Congressman Andy Barr and the partnership of sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, we’re one step closer to promoting fairness and safety across Thoroughbred racing. As Majority Leader, I made this Kentucky-focused legislation a top priority in the Senate.”
“It’s been a long journey, but Thoroughbred racing will finally have national uniformity in its rules and regulations, and the sport will be safer for its athletes, both equine and human, thanks to the efforts of Congressmen Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY),” said Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club. “I’d also like to thank Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for their support of this bipartisan legislation.”
“Now that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is the law of the land, the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) wants to once again sincerely congratulate Congressman Andy Barr for his leadership on this critical issue for horse racing,” said Shawn Smealie, Executive Director of CHRI. “Congressman Barr showed great courage in sponsoring this legislation at a time when the industry was divided on its medication policy. Poll after poll of racing fans and non-fans alike showed that medication policy and track safety were their biggest concerns, and HISA addresses both issues head on. Congressman Barr never wavered in his support for uniform medication reform and independent handling of the sports anti-doping program. For this, CHRI, which includes most of the industry’s top organizations and the leading animal welfare groups, will be forever grateful.”
“This is a great day for the future of Kentucky’s signature industry. Congressman Andy Barr’s constituents should be proud of his leadership and hard work over the last six years promoting the reforms so desperately needed in our great sport of horse racing,” said Staci Hancock, Managing Member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support was essential in getting the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act across the finish line. The members of the Water Hay Oats Alliance are honored to have worked alongside Congressman Barr, Congressman Paul Tonko and Senator McConnell to reach this wonderful milestone. These three leaders were the champions for our cause.”
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.