Decoupling will be of paramount concern for horsemen and those who are worried about its imminent devastating effects to Florida's Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse and Standardbred industries when the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee meets Wednesday (February 17) at 1:30 p.m. (EST).
Chaired by Senator Rob Bradley, the committee is slated to take up two bills (SPB 7072 and SPB 7074) that – similar to their Florida House of Representatives' counterparts – contain extensive provisions for the ratification of a new compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The bills also contain language that would radically alter the Florida pari-mutuel landscape in various ways, including decoupling – essentially undoing the original voter referendum that successfully boosted Florida's ability to compete for pari-mutuel business and create jobs with economic incentives funded by casino revenue.
Florida's racehorse owners, trainers and breeders are strongly opposed to decoupling of any kind, inasmuch as it would render Florida's horse racing and breeding market largely defunct primarily by eliminating live racing days and competitive purses. Most immediately, the specter of decoupling means thousands of Florida horsepeople are facing the loss of their businesses, employees and jobs. Many have lived, worked and competed in Florida for decades, where they are voters, taxpayer, parents and neighbors.
Decoupling opponents are urged to email and call all members of Senate Regulated Industries before they meet and decide whether Florida's successful horse racing industry lives or dies. For a list of Committee members and their contact information, click here.
To view the bill information page for SPB 7072, click here.
To view the bill information page for SPB 7074, click here.
The designation of ‘SPB,’ which stands for Senate Proposed Bill, would be changed to simply ‘SB’ (meaning ‘Senate Bill’) on each if the bills pass Wednesday.
For more information, visit nodecoupling.com.
(United Florida Horsemen)