By: Tom LaMarra
The West Virginia Racing Commission June 27 voted to lay the groundwork for legislation that would allow it to become a member of a compact that would facilitate adoption of uniform medication rules.
The WVRC took the action in the hope other Mid-Atlantic racing states consider pursuing compact legislation. All racing states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have adopted the National Uniform Medication Program for Thoroughbred racing, but the timeliness of implementing updates to the rules varies by state because of statutory restrictions.
West Virginia, for instance, must submit rule changes in early summer each year to have them considered during the following year’s legislative session.
“Our commission is aware that there is a lot of work and details to be resolved before we get to having draft legislation that we would pursue with our legislature,” said Kelli Talbott, Senior Deputy Attorney General for the WVRC. “But our commission took the first step to commit to undertaking that process.”
Regulators, horsemen’s groups and racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region worked together to implement model rules for medication, drug testing, and penalty enforcement, and they meet at least once year to assess the status of the program and discuss necessary updates.
The Association of Racing Commissioners International, which promulgates the model rules, has suggested that a compact would allow member states to simultaneously adopt new rules or rule modifications as they are issued.