08/31/2012 9:01AM

Kentucky governor overrides committee decision, new medication rules go into effect Sept. 4


LEXINGTON – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has overridden a recent decision by a state legislative committee to strike down several new medication rules, his office said late on Thursday.

Beshear’s decision to override the committee’s 19-1 vote means that two of the rules, a ban on adjunct bleeding medications and a reduction in the permissible level of the painkiller phenylbutazone, will go into effect on Sept. 4, according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The other rule, which restricts the raceday administration of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide to state vets, will go into effect on Oct. 5, the KHRC said.

Marty Maline, the executive director of the KHBPA, said on Friday that he was “shocked and frustrated” by Beshear’s decision. He said that the horsemen have not yet decided if they will challenge the governor’s override, which could take the form of a request for a temporary injunction.

“I’m terribly frustrated that the governor would make this move without talking to us and giving us the opportunity to provide evidence and proof of what we presented in front of the committee,” Maline said. “But other than that, it’s too soon to comment on what action we might take.”

The committee’s vote to find the rules “deficient” was supported by the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. Officials of the organization had testified in front of the committee, which had not announced that the rules would be up for a vote prior to conducting the hearing on Monday.

Following the vote, several racing organizations urged Beshear to override the decision, including the Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, an industry-wide coalition of groups that developed the rules as models for racing jurisdictions. Similar rules to those that were rejected by the Kentucky committee have been adopted or are in the process of being adopted in most major racing states.

In a note to the Legislative Research Commission, Beshear said that he overrode the decision by the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations because the rules had been endorsed by a committee of the racing commission before the commission also approved them.

“The interest of the industry demands that these well developed and full vetted regulations go into effect as promulgated,” Beshear said.