03/04/2014 11:22AM

New Mexico governor signs bill supporting racetracks’ right to exclude certain individuals

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The governor of New Mexico has signed a bill into law that will protect a racetrack’s right to exclude individuals whose licenses have been suspended or revoked by the state’s racing commission for some drug violations, the governor, Susana Martinez, announced on Monday.

The bill, passed earlier this year by the legislature, states that a “racetrack licensee may eject or exclude … any person whose occupational license has been suspended or revoked by the stewards or the commission for administering a performance-altering substance.”

Racetracks, like other private property owners, already have the right to eject or exclude individuals, especially if the racetrack bases the exclusion on the protection of the public or the sport’s integrity. Those rights have been upheld in a number of cases, though courts have also ruled that license holders have some due-process rights if the racetrack is deemed a “state actor.”

An analysis of the bill by New Mexico’s legislative finance committee said that the bill would “provide civil immunity” to racetracks if the tracks elected to exclude an individual who had been granted a stay of the suspension or revocation while the individual appealed the ruling.

“This law better equips racetrack operators and officials to stand up to cheaters, and protect horses and jockeys from those who undermine the integrity of the sport,” said Martinez, in a release.