The measure, authored by Assemblyman Martin Garrick and signed into law Oct. 10, permits anyone charged with a medication violation to choose either a board of stewards or a hearing officer appointed by the CHRB to rule on the case. Currently a case can be heard by the stewards or it must go to the state's Office of Administrative Hearings, which due to a backlog can take more than a year to process. The new law requires hearings to commence within 90 days of the filing of an accusation unless there is “good cause” for an extension.
“The passage of this legislation into law is part of the board’s strategy of providing timely transparency and a fair hearing process that can be concluded expeditiously and still provide for due process protections,” said CHRB Chairman Richard B. Shapiro. “This will allow all parties to more timely conclude matters that are critical to the integrity of the sport and the protection of the general public."
Shapiro said the bill, coupled with the adoption of new medication penalty guidelines that take effect next year, "will provide the platform for the equal and unbiased disposition of medication violations for years to come.”
The board will select hearing officers from a pool jointly developed by the CHRB, racing associations and horsemen. Hearing officers will be selected randomly from that pool to hear cases.
“This will be a pool of unbiased individuals with knowledge of the law and knowledge of horse racing, who will really understand the intricacies of the business,” said Ingrid Fermin, CHRB executive director.