The legislative session at the capitol in St. Paul closed with mixed results for Minnesota horsemen.
The good news? State legislators found a way to cobble together various bills and a budget, thus avoiding a government shutdown. The reason why this matters to horsemen is that when the government shuts down it also shuts down the Minnesota Racing Commission. Without the Minnesota Racing Commission, there is no horse racing in Minnesota. But it shouldn’t even come to that. Why? Because we as an industry self-fund the Commission. This means the funds are there for the MRC to do their job whether or not the government is shut down.
This is why their was a big push by the Minnesota HBPA, the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association and Canterbury Park to get a so-called “Lights On” bill passed. In short, this bill would have ensured that the Minnesota Racing Commission could have continued to operate in the event the government ever shut down again. And with the MRC open for business, everyone else in racing would remain in business as well.
But the Lights On bill wasn’t to be, at least not now. Still, just like every hopeful sports fan, we want to believe legislators when they say, Wait till next year!