(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – December 8, 2022 – A recent court ruling declaring the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) unconstitutional has prompted Attorney General Dave Yost and 8 colleagues to urge Congress to abandon any planned changes to the law – aside from repealing it – during the current lame-duck session.
“It has come to our attention that you are considering proposing language related to HISA in the Defense Spending Authorization Act,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter sent today to congressional leaders. “We urge you not to do so.”
Any such action, they maintain, would only make a bad situation worse.
HISA, passed in 2020, has been tied up in legal battles since its enactment.
The letter from the AG coalition was prompted by a November decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit deeming the law unconstitutional because it “delegates unsupervised government power to a private entity,” and thus “violates the private non-delegation doctrine.”
Under the legislation, a power that the states have held for more than 200 years – overseeing and regulating the horse-racing industry – is delegated to a private, unaccountable body.
“HISA’s very purpose is to take away a regulatory power individual States have exercised since the Founding,” the attorneys general wrote.
Yost said any rushed attempts to modify the law in the wake of the court ruling would be ill-considered.
“This legislation already disregarded state authority – it would be best not to add insult to injury,” he said.
In July, Yost filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of Ohio and six other states explaining why HISA is unconstitutional.
The letter sent today was drafted by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Besides Yost, the letter was signed by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.