Florida HBPA Tables Decision on National Membership

The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has tabled a decision as to whether it would remain a member of the National HBPA in light of a bylaws hitch and other matters.

Florida HBPA president Linda Mills said the board of directors met Feb. 10 and didn't even get to the issue of National HBPA membership until 2 1/2 hours into the meeting. That left little time for discussion.

"We had a lot of things on the agenda," Mills said. "The board voted to table it until its next meeting (in March) until it had more time to discuss the issues."

The situation came to light during the National HBPA winter convention, which wrapped up Feb. 4 in New Orleans. There are several issues at play, including Florida HBPA bylaws and what one official called a "personal division."

Mills said the organization's bylaws allow it to pay no more than $25,000 a year in dues to the National HBPA. Last year, the National HBPA adopted a new structure that hiked dues for some affiliates. The Florida HBPA is among those that pay the most--$25,000--to the National HBPA, but the amount is scheduled to increase slightly.

Mills said the organization's membership in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is its most important because the NTRA's objectives are closely aligned with those of the Florida HBPA.

Along with Mills' involvement in key issues such as workers' compensation insurance, the Florida HBPA has been very active with the National HBPA financially and through its executive director, Kent Stirling, who chairs the National HBPA Medication Committee and represents the organization on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.