Perry Thurston files Senate version for greyhound racing compensation

greyhound racer
Dog tracks go by the end of 2020. What of the people who'll lose jobs and businesses?

Democratic state Sen. Perry Thurston, Jr. has created the Senate vehicle for efforts to create a compensation fund for people who will lose their jobs and businesses when Florida’s greyhound racing tracks shut down at the end of next year.

Thurston’s Senate Bills 1314 and 1316, filed Friday, are companions to legislation filed in late November by Democratic state Rep. Kionne McGhee, of Cutler Bay.

Voters approved Florida Constitution Amendment 13 in 2018. It will outlaw dog racing and betting starting in 2021.

SB 1314 and 1316 and McGhee’s House Bills 803 and 805) would establish a trust fund within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering, and have tracks still operating, card rooms, and slot machine rooms pay taxes into the fund.

The bills also call for development of criteria and standards to then pay compensation to people losing money when the greyhound racing is to cease, by the end of next year. The betting regulatory agency would select a statewide organization to distribute the fund and provide the state with an annual expenditure report.

Due process requires that racing dog owners be compensated, the Florida Greyhound Association contends. But there is no clear position among state leaders to assume that claim.

The bills do however, plus more.

“Thousands of people who work in the greyhound racing industry will lose their jobs; and Racing greyhound owners and kennel owners will lose millions of dollars in property value; and It is appropriate and necessary to establish a fund to compensate such persons by redirecting revenue generated by the pari-mutuel industry,” SB 1316 declares.

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

After 69 percent 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, National Greyhound Association executive director Jim Gartland earlier this month.

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

Attorney General Ashley Moody has asked a state judge to dismiss the case because voters passed the ban.

Renzo Downey of the Florida Politics staff contributed to this report.


Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


6 comments

  • Pro animal society USA

    December 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Overturn 13 corrupt politicians … and corrupt animal rights organization swindled Floridians to vote against the greyhounds and their care takers … not only was this a big hit for the greyhounds industry but Florida lost millions in revenue … there was actual an education fund that benefited from the greyhound nearly $10 million to date …animal rights orgnAtion who have a vegan following want to ban not just greyhounds they want to ban every Animal enterprise in the USA from sea world, zoos, to the meat in your table !!! Everything is cruel to the vegans that don’t even take care of animals so have no clue about animal welfare yet they are the ones pushing for our laws make any sense !!! Afraid not !!

  • Fred Barton

    December 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I have written many times in support of compensation and retraining for those low wage, no benefit workers in racing that will be hurt the most when racing ends. I support the Iowa model and I hope the Florida Legislature can come up with something comparable.

    • Andy

      December 25, 2019 at 5:30 am

      So long as grey2scam doesn’t spend one dime on it, right Fred? As being under oath draws closer by the day…

      • Fred Barton

        December 25, 2019 at 6:35 am

        And how much is the industry spending to support those who once worked for it?

        • Craig Laginess

          December 25, 2019 at 7:47 pm

          It’s called severance packages Fred. Which is .ore than Grey2k will do for anyone.

          • Fred Barton

            December 26, 2019 at 7:42 am

            And what does that industry severance package look like for those folks?

Comments are closed.


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