California Takeout Bill Passes Key Committee

A workers' compensation bill designed to help California horsemen unanimously cleared the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee March 18.

Assembly Bill 1838, by Jerome E. Horton (D-Inglewood) would increase the amount deducted from the pari-mutuel pools of wagers made on live California horse races in order to address the increase in workers' compensation costs within the California horseracing industry.

The bill, which heads to the Assembly Insurance Committee on March 24, is expected to raise $8 million to help racing offset the cost of workers' compensation insurance.

AB 1838 comes on the heels of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger veto of a similar measure earlier this year.

"Over the last 45 days we have worked with Governor Schwarzenegger to craft a bill which addresses the concerns expressed in the veto message of AB 900," said Horton in a press release. "In no way should this bill be viewed as a piecemeal approach to the overall workers' compensation problem the state is facing. Even if a comprehensive workers' compensation package is achieved for all industries in the state, the California horseracing industry will still be faced with rates which are excessive compared to other industries."

Schwarzenegger vetoed the earlier bill over the governance and distribution of the funds and the lack of review for the necessity of future takeout.