04/15/2004 11:00PM

Calif. comp bills proceed

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Two bills that would increase the takeout on exotic bets on California races, with the proceeds going to subsidize workers' compensation insurance, may reach the floor of the state legislature within a week, according to Bob Fox, a racing lobbyist.

Two bills with similar language are currently at the committee level in the state Senate and Assembly. The Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations committee passed one version, and it is scheduled to be heard by the Appropriations committee in coming days. The other bill is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday by the Assembly's Appropriations committee.

The legislation would raise the takeout on bets other than win, place, or show from 20.18 to 20.68 percent. It is expected to generate $10 million annually to go toward insuring stable staff and jockeys.

Earlier this year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar legislation, but said he would revisit the bill if additions were made to include a sunset clause, greater oversight by the California Horse Racing Board, and wider involvement by racetracks and county fairs. Those changes are in the current legislation.