Greyhound injury reporting bill again circulates for 2016 Session - Florida Politics

Greyhound injury reporting bill again circulates for 2016 Session

Hollywood Sen. Eleanor Sobel filed the “Victoria Q. Gaetz Racing Greyhound Protection Act” for the second time in as many years Friday.

The bill, whose title honors the animal-loving wife of former Senate president Sen. Don Gaetz, would mandate that greyhound racetrack operators report all injuries to the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

While many tracks voluntarily report such information, there is currently nothing on the books that require them to, a state of affairs testifiers on the bill’s last incarnation in 2015 called “barbaric.”

Under the Broward Democrat’s proposal, the DBPR’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering must receive a form documenting any injury occurring while a racing greyhound is in Florida within seven days of its occurance.

An operator found to be in violation could face penalties under state law of revocation of their license or an administrative fine of up to $5,000.

Lobbyist David Bishop however, who represents the Florida Greyhound Association, says the bill does not go far enough.

“This bill is woefully inadequate and simply requires the state to do data collection, nothing more. What it doesn’t do is better protect the safety of greyhounds at dog tracks which is what we as an industry advocate,” said Bishop.

Sobel’s just-filed bill has so far has not picked up a House companion. Similar language was contained in measures co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Moskowitz and Rep. Dana Young, one of the House’s most active members on gaming issues.

The legislation – SB 412 in 2016 – unanimously passed the Senate last Session, but died amid the House’s surprise early adjournment in May.

The bill appropriates $62,517  to create one state position to oversee injury reporting.

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.
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