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Amendment 13: the 5 W’s

November 3, 2018

Who: Many activist groupshave long called for legislation to end greyhound racing in Florida.  Throughout the years, the groups were successful in rallying support for bills through both the House and the Senate, only to have those bills die in various committees. [1]  Luckily, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (FCRC)—who only convenes once every 20 years [2]—chose to take matters into their own hands and proposed a constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in Florida. [3

 

What: Banning greyhound racing in Florida has been a long and arduous journey for its proponents.  One major obstacle was the need to "decouple" greyhound racing from other types of gambling licensed under the provisions of the State’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.  The FCRC could not introduce the greyhound amendments without the State first allowing gambling locations to continue to operate lot machines and tables but shut down the dog tracks.  This proved difficult when considering the Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida, [4] which allows the Seminole Tribe’s gambling to be "de-coupled."  It is important to note that the validity of this compact is somewhat of a grey area.  In Florida House of Representatives v. Crist [5], the Florida Supreme Court held that the Governor did not have the authority to bind the State to the compact.  However, in a separate but related suit, Seminole Tribe of Florida v. United States [6], a U.S. District Court held that the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of the compact made the Tribe’s suit about the compact moot.  Despite this uncertainty, each party essentially treats the compact as valid.  Regardless, having surpassed this hurdle, the FCRC was able to introduce a constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing once and for all.

 

When: In Dep't of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass'n, Inc., [7] the Florida Supreme Court recently approved the amendment language proposed by the FCRC and held that the greyhound amendment should appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election.

 

Where: Florida!  Florida voters should vote to join 40 other states and the territory of Guam by enacting laws against greyhound racing.

 

Why: Unfortunately, the details of the greyhounds’ living conditions are often kept secret from the general public.  Once these details come to light it is clear to see why advocates are so determined to end greyhound racing in Florida.  For example, the crates in which greyhounds spend over 20 hours a day have a minimum size requirement of a mere two feet wide by three feet long by 32 inches high. [8There are also no laws requiring track owners to report injuries so there is no reliable data showing how many greyhounds sustain injuries in a given period of time.   Finally, multiple documented instances revealed that greyhounds had tested positive for cocaine, testosterone, steroids, and other—often illicit—performance enhancing substances. [9]

 

CALL TO ACTION!  Greyhound racing in Florida is animal abuse.  Be a voice for the voiceless.  Vote "YES" on Amendment 13!

  1. https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/bills.aspx?SessionId=86&HouseChamber=B&BillText=Greyhound

  2. https://www.flcrc.gov/About

  3. https://www.flcrc.gov/

  4. http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/documents/2010_Compact-Signed1.pdf

  5. Florida House of Representatives v. Crist, 999 So. 2d 601 (Fla. 2008).

  6. Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. United States, No.07-60317-CIV (S.D. Fla. order filed June 20, 2008).

  7. Dep't of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass'n, Inc., 43 Fla. L. Weekly S357 (Fla. Sept. 7, 2018) (http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2018/sc18-1287.pdf).

  8. Fla. Admin. Code R. 61D-2.023(2)(e)1

  9. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/07/06/dog-racing-has-a-drug-problem-as-12-florida-greyhounds-test-positive-for-cocaine/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a14aa72aaa0e

 

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