Changes to New Jersey Racing Commission Denied

Legislation to remove the nine members of the New Jersey Racing Commission and reconfigure the agency to require four of the nine members be owners or trainers was conditionally vetoed by Gov. James McGreevey on Monday.

The state Attorney General's office had advised Gov. McGreevey to change the language in the bill because ommissioners with an interest in ownership, breeding, or training of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds could create potential conflicts of interest.

The State Senate and General Assembly can now either approve the governor's changes changes and the bill becomes law, override the conditional veto and the bill will become law in its original form, or do nothing at all and the bill dies.

Sen. Martha Bark, the bill's sponsor, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger she was disappointed in the governor's decision because the bill was designed to give horsemen more influence in the regulatory process.

"It was my intention to give members of the racing community an opportunity to have a strong voice on the commission that governs their industry," Bark said. "These individuals understand the industry as a whole and want to see horse racing remain part of New Jersey's life. I do not feel that there is a conflict of interest as the governor has stated in his conditional veto."