SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In wake of the 26 high-profile horse deaths at Santa Anita Park this season, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his support Thursday for a bill that would make it easier for officials to suspend licenses and move race dates.
The bill, SB 469, would give the California Horse Racing Board authority to act immediately “when necessary to protect the health and safety of horses or riders.”
The board already has the authority to suspend race meet licenses and change event dates, but members have to notify the public and fulfill other requirements that can drag the process out for days or even weeks before meeting.
SB 469 would allow for emergency meetings and swifter action.
“The recent horse fatalities in California are unacceptable,” Newsom said in his statement supporting the bill. “We must hold the horse racing industry to account. If we can regulate horse race meets, we should have the authority to suspend licenses when animal or human welfare is at risk.”
The bill is sponsored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and has no significant opposition in its current form, the LA Times reports.