Delaware legislature passes medication and testing compact

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: June 29, 2018

Both houses of the Delaware legislature June 28 unanimously approved a bill authorizing the state to join the Interstate Anti-Doping and Drug-Testing Standards Compact, which is designed to greatly facilitate passage of model regulations in Thoroughbred racing.

The Delaware House Agriculture Committee passed the measure June 6. On a busy June 28, the bill passed the House of Representatives on a 40-0 vote with one member absent; the Senate Agriculture Committee, which received the bill from the House; and then the Senate on a 20-0 vote with one absentee.

The bill now goes to Gov. John Carney for his signature. The compact would take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

The Maryland General Assembly was the first to pass the compact legislation earlier this year; that law also takes effect Oct. 1 of this year. Once it becomes law in Delaware, the compact will be officially activated.

Any state that has adopted or authorized pari-mutuel wagering or live horse racing is eligible to join the compact. Rules and regulations don’t become effective in a new member state just because it joins the compact; language in the legislation maintains the customary regulatory process in each state.

When the compact commission—each state racing regulatory agency will have a delegate—is formed, a super-majority vote of 80% of the total number of delegates will be required to propose a rule.

The purpose of the compact as stated in the legislation to “enable member states to act jointly and cooperatively to create more uniform, effective and efficient breed-specific rules and regulations relating to the permitted and prohibited use of drugs and medications for the health and welfare of the horse and the integrity of racing, and testing for such substances, in or affecting a member state.”

Because of resistance from the Standardbred community, the compact effort spearheaded by the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in the Mid-Atlantic region currently pertains only to Thoroughbred racing. The compact process is moving forward in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.

“There was a joint commitment among all the Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions to form the compact,” THA Chairman Alan Foreman said. “But we have had expressions of interest from many states beyond the Mid-Atlantic who are interested in joining the compact.”

The compact is supported by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which approves all model rules after consultation with industry stakeholders.

Interstate Anti-Doping and Drug-Testing Standards Compact legislation (Delaware)

(Delaware Legislative Hall photo courtesy visitdelaware.com)