Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear Thursday overrode Monday's 19-1 decision by the Interim Joint Committee of Licensing and Occupations not to implement proposed medication regulation changes in the state. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) said Friday that two of the regulations, a ban on adjunct bleeder medications and a reduction of the allowed level of the painkiller phenylbutazone, will take effect Sept. 4. The rule that Lasix may only be administered by state veterinarians will begin to be enforced Oct. 5, the first day of Keeneland's fall meet.
Beshear explained in a letter to the Legislative Research Commission that the proposed regulations came about after more than a year of discussion and research by the KHRC. "All of the regulations were approved unanimously by the relevant KHRC committees, and by the KHRC itself," explained Beshear. "The regulations were heard by the Administrative Regulation and Review
Subcommittee without objection from any member of the committee." He added, "The interest of the industry demands that these well-developed and fully vetted regulations go into effect as promulgated."
Kentucky State Senator Damon Thayer, the only member of the Licensing and Occupations Committee who voted to support the new regulations in Monday's vote, praised Beshear's actions Friday.
"I am delighted that Governor Beshear has shown tremendous leadership in moving forward to implement the new rules," said Thayer. "It was a bold decision by a governor who cares about the safety of the horse, and the integrity of Kentucky's on-track product. Under his leadership, the racing commission has worked in an open and transparent manner for nearly a year and a half on these new national model rules, and I'm pleased that Kentucky has joined numerous other states in implementing them."
He continued, "The week is certainly ending on a much better note than it began after the sad events that happened in the committee meeting on Monday when the racing commission was ambushed and members of the committee were misinformed. I encouraged Governor Beshear publicly and privately to implement the new rules and I heard from him personally Thursday right before he assigned the letter moving the regulations forward. I will continue to work in a bi-partisan fashion with Governor Beshear to do the right thing for Kentucky's horse industry."