AUSTIN — The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Texas Horsemen’s Partnership are excited to report that five bills have been filed with the Texas Legislature that could benefit the Texas racing industry.
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R) filed three bills in the Senate:
SB #1971 [Co-authored by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R)] – Would create a purse matching fund from the state’s general revenue fund that is expected to increase purses by $25 million. Committee substitute language is expected to clarify specifics.
SB #1972 – Would shift Accredited Texas-Bred funds from the Texas Racing Commission’s budget and establish an escrow account for the money.
SB #1973 – Would utilize existing state tax revenue on simulcast wagers that currently goes to the Texas general revenue fund in order to help pay the costs of operating the Texas Racing Commission. Presently, all of the costs of operating the Commission are borne by the racing industry through track and occupational license fees.
Rep. John Kuempel (R) of Seguin filed two bills in the House of Representatives. Kuempel, Chairman of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, is a longtime friend of the Texas racing industry. The House bills are:
HB #3925 – Would legalize account wagering on Texas racing and create mechanisms for the Texas Racing Commission to license and regulate account wagering operators.
HB # 3926 – Would authorize purpose-driven pari-mutuel wagering at the 10 Texas facilities currently licensed to conduct live or simulcast racing. Purpose-driven pari-mutuel wagering would provide funding for enhanced bulletproof vests and body armor for all peace officers in Texas, funding to increase death benefits for the spouses and families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and donor-directed funding for 501(c)(3) charitable organizations operating in Texas. It would also increase purse money available for racing in Texas.
It can be a long and arduous process to get a bill passed by the Texas Legislative. However, this is the first time in many years that so many beneficial bills have been filed on behalf of the Texas racing industry.
“The TTA would like to thank Senators Kolkhorst and Buckingham and Representative Kuempel for sponsoring these bills and recognizing the importance of the racing and breeding industry in this state,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “We encourage horsemen to voice their support for these bills.”
—Texas Thoroughbred Association
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