AG Committee Approves Horse Racing Industry Bill

The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee today (February 24) approved legislation that makes substantial regulatory changes necessary to protect and bolster Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry, according to Senator Elder Vogel, 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 Senator 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,” Senator 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.”

Senate Bill 1188, which Senator Vogel introduced during the 2013-14 Legislative Session, was unanimously approved by the Senate on June 27, 2014, but the bill stalled in the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee also approved Senate Bill 201. This measure would allow land owners with a property enrolled in the Clean-and-Green program to lease the site to a third party in certain cases without penalty.


Mike Rader     (717) 787-3076

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