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Kionne McGhee files greyhound racing compensation bill

Voters last year approved a dog racing ban that starts in 2021.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misattributed the origin of an August press release. The Florida Greyhound Association published the release.

Following last year’s greyhound racing ban, the Democratic House leader wants to pay back industry workers who will lose their jobs by the end of next year.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that will outlaw dog racing and betting starting in 2021. But legislation by Rep. Kionne McGhee, of Cutler Bay, would create a compensation trust fund to distribute to people affected by the industry’s closure.

“As a result of the prohibition on greyhound racing and wagering, thousands of people have lost or will lose their jobs, and racing greyhound and kennel owners will lose millions of dollars in property value,” according to the legislation.

McGhee filed both bills (HB 803 and HB 805) Tuesday. The legislation would establish the trust fund within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering.

After 69% of voters approved Amendment 13, greyhound racetracks began closing across the state. Five of the state’s 11 tracks either closed or did not reopen for a new season, said National Greyhound Association executive director Jim Gartland.

In August, a St. Petersburg kennel owner sued the state for damages for devaluing his greyhounds. Others filed a suit last month.

Due process requires that racing dog owners be compensated, according to an August Florida Greyhound Association news release. But Attorney General Ashley Moody has asked a state judge to dismiss the case because voters passed the ban.

Dollars for the fund would be diverted from revenue from other betting programs, including savings from the greyhound race betting industry closure. The betting regulatory agency would also select a statewide organization to distribute the fund and provide the state with an annual expenditure report.

Unless terminated sooner, the trust fund would continue into 2024.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering the Texas House of Representatives for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Fred Barton

    November 27, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Well, I don’t know about the dog owners. They can take their dogs somewhere else, but certainly the workers should be first in line for any compensation, which I hope would also include funds for job training.

  2. Greyhound Strong

    November 27, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Luckily, this won’t be needed when the lawsuit to Overturn Unconstitutional Amendment 13 is victorious in Federal Court… #LetThemRun

    • Fred Barton

      November 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      Really? Tracks have already closed and more are closing. The first hearing isn’t until June. How many tracks do you think will be left by then? One? Two? A lot of people will need some help.

      • Greyhound Strong

        November 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

        Who says that the first hearing isn’t until June? You’re way behind Fred…

      • Andy

        November 28, 2019 at 4:37 am

        If even one stays open it will be worth it. Interesting the court did not dismiss as the state asked, simply moved the location. Getting more likely your criminal leaders have to raise their right hand and swear on the Bible they don’t believe in.

        • Fred Barton

          November 28, 2019 at 6:42 am

          “If even one stays open it will be worth it.” Not to the people who worked at the other ten.

          • Andy

            November 28, 2019 at 10:13 am

            Oh, so now you are so concerned with ones you and your criminal cohorts left jobless, tell you what, get grey2scam to solicit donations for the displaced workers instead of living the high life.

    • gary

      November 30, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      100% AGREE!

      The dogs are beautiful, and they run… so what!

  3. Marie Smith

    November 27, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Another rookie reporter who forgot to check his facts. The NGA did not put out a news release statement in August regarding due process. The news release was put out by the Support Working Animals group when the group filed a federal suit against the state. Here is the most recent press release: https://mailchi.mp/a3012b34eb1c/overturn-amendment-12061857?e=6f15fee35c.
    This reporter would be encouraged to read the press release and contact Ryan Burrell, Spokesperson, at #865-805-0855 for followup.

  4. Greyhound Stronger

    November 27, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    A poll of the remaining tracks shows that 2 will be operating into June. The tracks do not even want racing at their facilities anymore. It is almost a moot discussion.
    As in Massachusetts, the suit will be dismissed with prejudice for the same reasons. I find it strange that the pro racing group actually thinks that others want them involved at all.

    • Greyhound Strongest

      November 27, 2019 at 10:49 pm

      Actually, there are 5, and another opening in just a few weeks…

      • Andy

        November 28, 2019 at 4:33 am

        You hardly can expect the truth from these frauds.

      • Greyhound Stronger

        November 29, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        For their final run. And they are preparing to close thereafter. I have spoken to ownership (I am not connected to G2K) and they do not want your advocacy but will not tell you directly due to some long-standing relationships and out of respect to some within your closed groups (that are quick to report to others insider information).

    • Steve Grabarczyk

      November 28, 2019 at 9:27 am

      well the $$ hey gave us for the suit would contradict your BS response. Where do you think it came from, a tree?

      • Greyhound Stronger

        November 29, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        Your cash was not given. It was due to a premise required to maintain their flow of dogs for their little franchises and income and expenses they pull. I have seen their shared donation flags and I have examined the percentages from donations to their parties that are sent to you. There will be quite a bit revealed that will be quite embarrassing to your clique and how they manage and the facts surrounding. No matter.

  5. Fred Barton

    November 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

    If you go back and look at the history of my comments you’ll see we’ve always advocated for a transitional program for workers like the one in Iowa which I’ve several times cited as an example of what Florida should do.

  6. Andy

    November 29, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    And how much money has grey2scum ponied up for that? I bet it’s ZERO. True to form you frauds are now lying in WVa, but at least there we have lawmakers who are well aware of your dishonesty. The court case will hopefully destroy you scum once and for all.

    • Fred Barton

      November 30, 2019 at 6:46 am

      We’ve put in as much as the industry has. Come on Andy. This isn’t our responsibility. At least we’re working with the Legislature to get something done while all you folks are doing is sitting on the sidelines complaining.

    • FL mom

      December 1, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      That guy is full of it

      • Greyhound Stronger

        December 3, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        FL mom. The pro-racing jerks really love to demonstrate gruff language. Dog racing is just about gone. WV next, soon IA due to lack of dogs and live racing handle. Then TX, the Racing Commissioner there is annoyed at defending you frequently. Don’t believe me? Ask.

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