The Kentucky Equine Education Project began lobbying in earnest for its racetrack casino plan with a letter to more than 3,200 community officials outlining how the state's share--a projected $437.5 million a year--from gaming would be spent under proposed legislation.
As the deadline to establish regulations for a $12-million Thoroughbred breed incentive program in Kentucky fast approaches, a debate over the scope of the fund--and whether there could be political fallout--continues.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project announced its support Sept. 16 for a referendum to amend the state constitution to allow for casino gambling at licensed racetracks. But details of the plan won't be in the form of legislation until Jan. 1, 2006, and officials admitted the final document will be subject to revision.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project will unveil what it calls a "bold legislative initiative aimed at increasing the state's revenue for critical services without a broad-based tax increase" Sept. 16 on the steps of the State Capitol in Frankfort.
With a fall awareness campaign and the 2006 General Assembly session looming, the board of directors of the Kentucky Equine Education Project voted Sept. 7 on its ultimate position on expanded gambling in the state.
An Aug. 26 presentation on the status of the Kentucky lottery and a scholarship fund that derives money from it led to a call for more funding, even if it means legislators would have to approve expanded gambling to generate the revenue.
A lawsuit filed by the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association over the move to stricter race-day medication rules has led a legislative subcommittee that has tackled the issue to back away--at least for now.
Kentucky legislators received assurances July 13 the state is well equipped to handle future equine disease outbreaks, but they got no answers to questions about the origin of the strangles cases earlier this spring at the Churchill Downs Trackside Training Center.
The long-awaited expansion of the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center, made possible through an $8.5-million appropriation from the Kentucky General Assembly this spring, is about to begin and could be completed in about two years, officials said.
The state Office of Inspector General has been asked to review reports that are said to show the former Kentucky Racing Commission failed to take action on drug positives called by a testing facility in 2002-03.
A Kentucky legislative subcommittee, now squarely involved in the debate over changes to the state's equine medication policy, has requested records from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority that are said to show officials with the old Kentucky Racing Commission didn't take action for drug positives called by the laboratory that conducted the tests.
Should the Kentucky horse racing industry push for casino gambling during the 2006 General Assembly session, it apparently won't have the support of Democratic Rep. Larry Clark.
As the 2005 Kentucky General Assembly session nears an end, the horse industry finds itself with a few important benefits--and a sense that it could show a lot of muscle in future legislative endeavors.
A tax modernization plan that includes breed development provisions was approved by the Kentucky House and Senate March 8 and now goes to Gov. Ernie Fletcher for his signature.
A proposal to create breeders' incentive funds and a modification of the tax on yearlings and 2-year-olds was slated for passage March 8 as part Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's tax modernization and budget package.
Proposals to create breed development programs and modify a tax on the sale of yearlings and 2-year-olds remained intact when the Kentucky House of Representatives approved Gov. Ernie Fletcher's tax modernization plan Feb. 18.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project, which has said it strongly supports provisions in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's tax modernization plan that would in part create breed development programs, will have representatives at a Feb. 10 hearing before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, in a race against the legislative clock, moved Feb. 2 to submit recommendations to Gov. Ernie Fletcher for creation of a workers' compensation fund that would cover jockeys and exercise riders at racetracks and some training facilities.
A tax modernization plan unveiled by Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher during his "state of the commonwealth" address Tuesday night includes provisions for breed development programs for the horse industry.
As the Kentucky breeding industry continues to suggest it's under siege from competition in other states, legislation that would shift millions of dollars in existing tax revenue into a Thoroughbred breed development program looms a good possibility for 2005.
Two Central Kentucky legislators who have been active in raising the profile of the horse industry among the state General Assembly retained their seats in the Nov. 2 election.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project, which is yet to devise a legislative agenda, will let its still-evolving board of directors decide whether alternative gaming will be on its wish list, a representative said Sept. 8 during a meeting of the state Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Kentucky lawmakers will meet to discuss what the state's most recognizable industry--horse farming--means to the Bluegrass economy.
Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, also an executive with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup, has been appointed Senate chairman of the state Task Force on Economic Development.
The Kentucky equine industry, for the first time, will be the focus of a September meeting of the state General Assembly's Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, legislators announced July 14.
A grassroots educational endeavor launched only two months ago in Kentucky already has raised $1 million and is well on the way of meeting its goal of $1.5 million by the end of the year.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project received another vote of confidence June 4 when the board of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders contributed $100,000 to KEEP, which was launched in early May.
In a strong display of solidarity, more than 600 members of the horse industry packed the visitors' center at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington May 26 for the first town hall meeting held by the Kentucky Equine Education Project. Several participants said they were blown away by the turnout.
The Kentucky Equine Education Alliance launched May 5 with an ambitious agenda of educating the state residents on the importance of the horse industry to the economy. To say the plan was well-received would be an understatement, as more than 100 people--including 14 legislators--were on hand for a press conference.
The Kentucky Equine Education Alliance on May 5 will officially launch a grassroots effort to educate the public on the importance of the $4-billion horse industry to the state's economy.
Prominent owners and breeders in Kentucky are putting together a coalition whose mission will be to educate the public and members of the state legislature on the importance of the horse industry.
Legislation to authorize creation of an international wagering hub was passed by the Kentucky House of Representatives April 13, final day of the 2004 regular General Assembly session.
The Kentucky racing industry's next chance to win approval for a constitutional amendment on racetrack casinos will come in 2006, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association said in a letter to members.
A Senate-approved plan to authorize creation of a multi-jurisdictional wagering hub in Kentucky was shot down by the House of Representatives March 29.
The Kentucky Senate March 26 passed three-prong legislation that authorizes creation of an international wagering hub, paves the way for live Quarter Horse racing, and gives Standardbred racetracks a tax break.
An amendment to require the new 13-member Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to have no more than seven members of the same political party isn't expected to thwart Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's plans, a state senator said March 25.
Legislation to authorize wagering hubs in Kentucky was introduced in the state Senate in early March and is moving through the legislative process as an amendment to a bill that would permit artificially inseminated horses to race in Kentucky. A hub measure was introduced in 2002 but it failed to garner support.
Kentucky legislators have left open the possibility expanded gambling could be revisited in the future, but they claim greed and resistance by the horse racing and breeding industry put a casino bill on the shelf for the 2004 session. Industry officials disagree with that perspective.
Disagreement between the horse racing industry and a legislator has put casino legislation in Kentucky in a tenuous position for the current session.
Former Kentucky Governor and Airdrie Stud owner Brereton Jones called for an amendment to the state's constitution allowing for full-scale casino gambling only at the state's eight racetracks Thursday evening while addressing the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club. The plan differs from one discussed earlier in the week by state legislators that would allow for casinos at racetrack and non-racetrack locations.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Kentucky legislators can't learn everything about the horse business in the few weeks that remain before the session deadline to file bills. It requires professional lobbyists, but it also takes commitment from the rank and file.
A Kentucky legislator has pre-filed several bills for the 2004 General Assembly session, including one that would authorize electronic gaming devices at racetracks, and another that calls for a constitutional amendment on the subject.
A bloodstock agent, a trainer, and an auction company representative told Kentucky legislators during a Nov.12 subcommittee hearing at the state capitol that the 6% sales tax charged to Kentucky residents on horse purchases should be repealed and that purses distributed at Kentucky racetracks needs to grow along with other states if Kentucky expects to remain the central point of the Thoroughbred industry.
The dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky told several Kentucky lawmakers the school's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center is overburdened and under-funded.
Representatives of Kentucky businesses that derive substantial revenue from the horse industry told state legislators Sept. 10 the health of the Thoroughbred breeding industry and their bottom lines are closely linked.
Thoroughbred breeders told Kentucky legislators Aug. 21 the state must step up and offer assistance if its signature industry is to stabilize and grow in years to come.
There's still more than four months until the Kentucky General Assembly meets, but Sen. Damon Thayer has prefiled three bills, two of which are designed to save horse breeders and farmers money.
With an economic impact pegged at about $3.4 billion, the equine industry has been called the most important in Kentucky. Some legislators would like to keep it healthy--even help it grow--but they've acknowledged they don't have all the answers.
Kentucky's equine industry will be the focus June 18 when the recently formed Subcomittee on Horse Farming of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources holds its first meeting.
For the first time in Kentucky history, there will be a legislative subcommittee that will regularly address issues that affect the horse breeding and racing industry in the state.
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