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Idaho horsemen respond to new challenges to historic racing

March 14, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Despite passing a bill in 2013 to allow for historic racing in Idaho, the Idaho Legislature is now considering rejecting the rules that govern historic racing.

In the time since the law passed last year, Idaho racetrack operators have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on historic racing terminals and on upgrading their facilities to offer historic racing. Now a handful of legislators seek to modify the historic racing technology, effectively nullifying those investments.

"Why would anyone want to modify technology that is working to go back to something that doesn't?, asks Melissa Bernard of Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls, Idaho. "Who knows what the costs for redevelopment of existing technology would be?"

According to Bernard, "Surrounding states of Oregon and Wyoming have passed Historical Racing legislation and in some cases have already implemented Historical Racing terminals; our state will be competing with them directly, so a change to modify Idaho's terminal technology would go against sound business practices and would negatively affect a patrons experience."

Furthermore, "Idaho's Historical Racing terminals need to commingle into other State's parimutuel pools and modifications would disrupt the process and again...with negative consequences. A vote against Historical Racing rules and/or a vote for any modification in the current technology [do] a great disservice to Idaho Horsemen and the agriculture business in our State, The final rules for Historic Racing need to be passed AS IS with NO CHANGES," Bernard concludes.

Mark and Peggy Brown, racehorse breeders/owners from American Falls, Idaho, support Bernard's claims from the horsemen's standpoint. "We need the rules to go through just like they were originally written," says Peggy. "The changes they are proposing are not good for horse racing!

"Contact not only the House State of Affairs committee (note: contact information below) but also your district Representatives," adds Peggy. "Go to the Idaho Legislature web page and get [the contact] info you need. Also anyone that can possibly be in Boise Monday morning (March 17) at 9:30 for the committee hearing is being asked to be there. We need to show as much support as possible!"

We at TRJ—The Racing Journal couldn't agree more. The way we see it, the Idaho legislature, by passing the rules the way they were originally written, can prove several things to voters:

• prove that they are pro agriculture
• prove that they are pro business (racetracks)
• prove that they are pro small-business (horsemen)
• prove that they are pro small-government

All of these groups are united in favor of historic racing and the proposed rules. If a handful of legislators block the rules, we must ask the question: who, exactly, do the legislators favor, and why?

Here is contact information for the Idaho House State Affairs Committee:

Representative Thomas Loertscher (R) Chair
District 32, Iona
House Seat B
1357 Bone Rd., Iona, 83427
Home (208) 522-3072
FAX (208) 522-1141

Representative Gayle Batt (R) - Vice Chair
District 11, Wilder
House Seat A
25253 Graphic Lane, Wilder, 83676
Home (208) 337-5600

Representative Eric Anderson (R)
District 1, Priest Lake
House Seat A
33 Match Bay Rd., Priest Lake, 83856-5049
Home (208) 443-1201

Representative Ken Andrus (R)
District 28, Lava Hot Springs
House Seat A
6948 E. Old Oregon Trail Rd., Lava Hot Springs, 83246
Home (208) 776-5380
Bus (208) 244-2057

Representative Lynn Luker (R)
District 15, Boise
House Seat A
514 S. El Blanco Dr., Boise, 83709
Home (208) 375-8254
Bus (208) 343-0022
FAX (208) 375-0501

Representative Brent Crane (R)
District 13, Nampa
House Seat A
P.O. Box 86, Nampa, 83653
Bus (208) 466-0613
FAX (208) 461-4815

Representative Joe Palmer (R)
District 20, Meridian
House Seat A
1524 N. Meridian Rd., Meridian, 83642
Bus (208) 887-9488

Representative Kathleen Sims (R)
District 4, Coeur d'Alene
House Seat B
P.O. Box 399, Coeur d'Alene, 83816
Home (208) 640-1154
Bus (208) 765-5005

Representative Vito Barbieri (R)
District 2, Dalton Gardens
House Seat A
564 E. Prairie Ave., Dalton Gardens, 83815
Home (208) 762-3737

Representative James Holtzclaw (R)
District 20, Meridian
House Seat B
3720 N. Heritage View Ave., Meridian, 83646
Home (208) 284-9542

Representative Shannon McMillan (R)
District 7, Silverton
House Seat A
P.O. Box 26, Silverton, 83867
Bus (208) 752-1800
FAX (208) 752-1900

Representative Jason Monks (R)
District 22, Meridian
House Seat B
1002 W. Washington Dr., Meridian, 83642
Home (208) 871-7127
Bus (208) 884-8684
FAX (208)895-8013

Representative Kelley Packer (R)
District 28, McCammon
House Seat B
P.O. Box 147, 104 Mountain View Dr., McCammon, 83250
Home (208) 241-3350
Bus (208) 478-4522
FAX (208) 478-2935

Representative Elaine Smith (D)
District 29, Pocatello
House Seat B
3759 Heron Ave., Pocatello, 83201
Home (208) 237-1462

Representative John Gannon (D)
District 17, Boise
House Seat A
2104 S. Pond Street, Boise, 83705
Home (208) 343-1608
Bus (208) 433-0629

Representative Holli Woodings (D)
District 19, Boise
House Seat B
1302 Rose Park Circle, Boise, 83702
Home (208) 724-0939