By: T.D. Thornton

A bill that passed 42-3 in the Oklahoma Senate Thursday would create a new Medication Advisory Committee whose purpose would be to make recommendations to the state racing commission prior to the adoption of any new rules related to equine medications and drug testing.

If the bill gets signed into law, horsemen would now have a formal say in Oklahoma’s equine drug-related rulemaking process, as SB 633 mandates that two of the new committee’s 13 members be representatives “from each of the recognized horsemen’s representative organizations.”

The other committee members would be: Four members from the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC); one commission veterinarian; one commission steward; three representatives from “currently licensed organization licensees,” and two practicing veterinarians (one selected by Thoroughbred horsemen, the other by non-Thoroughbred horsemen).

Although the bill does not give the new committee any specific power to overrule the commission on any policy, it states that “any rule or change in rule made by the OHRC related to equine medications and drugs or drug testing of a horse prior to or during a race including, but not limited to, threshold levels for therapeutic medications and drugs shall require such rule to be reviewed by the Medication Advisory Committee with a requirement that the Committee recommendations shall be presented to the OHRC during a public meeting of the Commission prior to adoption.”

The law authorizing the new committee, if passed, would take effect Nov. 1, 2019.