FTC issues final rule for submission of proposed HISA rules, regulations

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Nov. 7, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a “final rule” that establishes the formal process by which the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority can submit proposed rules that will make up the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020.

Under HISA, the FTC is required to review proposed rules and decide whether they should be approved or denied. HISA, which became law at the end of 2020 and is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2022–there are two outstanding lawsuits challenging its constitutionality–deals with anti-doping regulations, drug testing and racetrack safety.

Under the FTC rule, the entity must approve or disapprove rules or rule modifications submitted by the HISA governing authority within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.

The HISA law states that the FTC “shall publish in the Federal Register any proposed rule, standard, or procedure and provide an opportunity for public comment,” much of which will come from industry stakeholders. The FTC final rule notes the 60-day period is relatively short given the fact the agency and HISA governing body will require time to review comments.

Given that situation, HISA “functionally provides for a more limited period of approximately 30 days or less” for public comments to be submitted,” the final rule states. “To ensure the public has an adequate opportunity to review and understand the authority’s rules, ask questions, and provide comments, the (FTC) is encourage the authority to make its proposed rules publicly available and solicit public comments in advance of providing any submissions to the (FTC). To avoid delays in (FTC) approval of its rules, the authority should not wait until its proposed rule is published in the Federal Register to solicit its own public comments.”

The FTC will require the HISA governing body to submit a copy of all public comments along with rule submissions or modifications.

“The (FTC) encourages the authority to make such comments publicly available on its own website,” the final rule states. “In addition, the authority’s draft Federal Register notice must include a summary of the substance of all comments received and the authority’s written response to all significant issues raised in such comments. This advance resolution of comments will greatly facilitate the process of review for any proposed rules or modifications.”

The final rule notes that all authority rule submissions and any proposed “rate increases” must be reported to the FTC and emailed to the FTC Secretary. (An industry funding mechanism for HISA has not yet been released, and the authority hasn’t publicly indicated when the funding structure will be proposed.)

A document with proposed rules and regulations for the racetrack safety program is being circulated within the industry for review and any suggested changes or additions. The proposed rules and regulations for the HISA anti-doping and medication control program had not been released as of early November.

For more information visit the FTC website at this link.