Attention !!!

July 15th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione

Help Wanted !!!

The Illinois HBPA is currently looking for a part-time secretary, 4 hours per day/5 days per week, 8:30 a.m. til 12:30 p.m. This job will begin immediately and end the last day of September. It is part time and only and shall last for a few more months. Pay will be good, you may send a resume or your information to the HBPA, P.O. Box 429, Caseyville, Il. 62232, or you may fax it to 618-344-9049. Must have good people skills and be computer literate. It is possible this job could turn into a year round job. Please reply by July 25th, 2017.

Attention Horsemen !!!

July 7th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
There is some very good news to report to everyone concerning this legislative session. As all horsemen are aware we have an Illinois owners incentive program for $ 10,000.00 claiming races and higher, everyone see’s the added money that gets paid when you win one of these races as an Illinois bred. For the past several years this program has not been funded by the Illinois Department of Agriculture because its has been stripped from appropriations due to no money and no budget. All of these awards for Illinois breds who win these races has come directly from our purse accounts without being replenished by the State, simply put, we paid it from our purse account.
 
Over the past 6 months or so the HBPA, ITHA , IHHA as well as all of our lobbyists have been working to get these funds placed back into the budget and appropriated back to us as intended.
 
I am happy to inform everyone that with the passage of the new budget we have accomplished this task, and we now have an allocation to the thoroughbred industry of over 3.6 million dollars to support Illinois owners awards etc.
 
From now on, we will not have to cover all of these awards from our purse account, it will be replenished by the State as it always has been. These funds will support all t-bred races throughout the state as well as the county fairs.
 
While the HBPA was involved in this effort, the lead role was played by the ITHA and IHHA, they worked it and did one heck of a job for all of us. Due to this, posted below you will see their press release on this issue, please read it, its very informative.
 
Legislative Session Concluded:
ITHA Successfully Advocates for $3.67 Million Racing Boost from Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Fund; Pursuit of Gaming Expansion Bill Continues
 
The ITHA is pleased to report that, thanks to our continued advocacy in Springfield, the state budget approved today by Illinois lawmakers allocates $3.67 million to support thoroughbred owner’s awards and Illinois stakes races.
For the last two years, during the state’s budget impasse, lawmakers did not authorize such spending. And because state law requires that the owner’s awards be paid regardless, the overall purse account was the only source of funds. Now, with the awards again backed by the state, those purse dollars will be available to pay increased overnight purses.
Moreover, $3.67 million – the amount authorized by the budget approved today – is twice the amount authorized in a typical year. The spending from the state’s Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Fund will be used primarily to: Dramatically increase purses to Illinois conceived and foaled or Illinois foaled stake races. Pay owner’s awards to Illinois conceived and foaled and Illinois foaled horses who finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in “open” races of $10,000 claiming and higher.
 
“Favorable outcomes in Springfield don’t just happen by accident; they happen as a result of proactive, focused and effective communication with lawmakers,” said David Block, a leading Illinois owner and breeder and a former director of the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation. “I’ve been following closely and the ITHA, together with the IHHA and ILHBPA, made this a top priority during the entire session. Their work clearly paid off and Illinois breeders are grateful.”
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association worked collaboratively throughout the legislative session, engaging with all four legislative caucuses and the office of Gov. Bruce Rauner, in pursuit of these funds. Instead of focusing solely on gaming issues, as others appeared to do, our three groups recognized the utility – with the state’s impasse ongoing – of pursuing other opportunities, such as this, to help bring relief to our industry. The budget measure, Senate Bill 6, also appropriates $2.53 million from the Illinois Standardbred Breeders Fund for standardbred awards and races.
 
The ITHA is grateful for continued interest and support from state legislators of both parties and chambers of the General Assembly. We also appreciate the governor’s interest in the horse racing industry and its associated agribusiness jobs.
“While Republicans largely had issues with the overall budget, many of us support the line item for owner awards, and I want to acknowledge the effective advocacy of the three Illinois horsemen groups – ITHA, IHHA and ILHBPA – in getting those sums restored,” said Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, an assistant Republican leader.
House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) added: “The ITHA, IHHA and ILHBPA worked all session to restore funding for owner awards, and I am pleased to say that the lobbying efforts of Illinois’ three horsemen groups paid off in the final appropriation for the Department of Agriculture.”
While passage of a state budget marks the end of the budget impasse of more than two years, lawmakers did not during the legislative session act on gaming expansion legislation that would permit slots at tracks for the purpose of enhancing purses. Together with abolishing recapture – the woeful practice of tracks sweeping dollars from the horsemen’s purse account to subsidize their own operations – winning passage of that gaming measure remains our chief legislative priority.

July 6th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
Update !!!
 
As expected today the house overrode Governor Rauners veto of the budget. So, now the State of Illinois officially has a budget.
 
Additionally both the Senate and House are STAYING in session, they did NOT adjourn. So, we will keep working and lobbying them with hopes of getting them to call one of our gaming bills. We are still in the game for now, if we get any movement on any of them, we will of course let everyone know.

Attention Horsemen !!!

July 3rd, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione

Legislative Update !!!

Yesterday the House passed a budget, Sb9 passed 72-45 and SB6 passed 81-34.  This budget now goes to the Senate for a vote today, if passed there it will go to the Governor for his signature.  Its still very complicated and not over yet as there are other twists and turns that can and most likely will take place as Gov. Rauner has stated publicly that he will veto if it gets to his desk.

Our hope is that somehow they will get this budget will passed and then the lawmakers will use one of our gaming bills in an attempt to generate the needed revenue to pay down its back log of bills.

Were still alive, more to come.

Attention !!!

June 30th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione

Springfield !!!!! Things are starting to take shape towards a budget, it now looks like there is an actual shot at a budget !!!

Most feel that we must first have a budget passed before they will consider passing one of our gaming bills. Lets keep our fingers crossed and see where things go tomorrow, as of this moment the House has adjourned and will reconvene at 11:00 AM tomorrow, July 1st.

The info below from an inside source !!!

WHERE ARE WE NOW? The House overwhelmingly adopted an amendment today that contained the House Democrats’ proposed budget. The amendment was approved 90-25. The floor debate was about the most bipartisan and hopeful I’ve ever watched. But this ain’t over until it’s over and some pitfalls remain.

Speaker Madigan rose after the vote to thank the Republicans and said “I think it’s a good step forward. A step that we can build upon.” But, he said there’s “much work yet to be done,” so he said the House will be in session until tomorrow at least.

The amendment floor vote was Speaker Madigan’s idea. He wanted the budget amendment adopted as a sign of good faith by the Republicans and then he’d restart negotiations on everything else, including non-budget issues and revenues.

The budget itself is also still not agreed. A “top Republican source” described today’s floor action as more of a “procedural vote” than a sign of support for the underlying bill. There’s still a lot of work left to do.

However, after the floor vote, the Illinois Republican Party pulled down a very negative online ad that attacked Madigan. That’s unprecedented. Their TV ads are still running, however.

Madigan sent a letter today to the bond rating agencies asking them to withhold judgement and to allow the negotiations to continue before moving the state to junk bond status.

Speaker Madigan also said he was convening a leaders’ meeting today to talk about the budget and non-budget issues. He added that he’ll convene a “meeting of interested parties” on the revenue bill. He used that same “interested parties” phrase twice.

“Let’s keep up the good work and we’ll get the job done,” Madigan said.

From what I’ve been told, this thing just about went off the rails last night, but they got things back on track this morning.

June 30th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione

Attention Horsemen !!!

I was informed today by security that they will be checking for and asking to see your license upon entry each day to the backside beginning tomorrow, 7/1/2017. I am told there are far too many people entering or trying to enter who have NO license. Just wanted to give everyone a heads up so you can have it with you and ready to avoid problems, Thanks….

Attention Horsemen !!!

June 7th, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
The doctor will be in on June 26th from 8:00 am til 2:00 pm, please call to make appointment and get your paperwork filled out first, 618-345-8224

Attention Horsemen !!!

June 2nd, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
Just wanted to let everyone know that management relayed to me today that they will check into the possibility of adding another day to make up for last Saturday’s cancellation. It takes a few twists to get it done, the right day, IRB approval etc. Hopefully they can get it done !!!

June 2nd, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
Update !!!
 
At this time the Senate and House have adjourned until the call of the Chair and or Speaker. I am told there will be many meetings over the next couple weeks and then both the House and Senate will most likely reconvene for the last 2 weeks of this month to get their business done……….
 
We will let everyone know when the games begin !!!

June 1st, 2017 | written by Pete Scalcione
Update !!!
 
As you know, the legislative session was to end last night at midnight, be advised that session has been extended until June 30th.
 
SB7 (the slots at tracks bill) is still alive, there was chatter last night that it may possibly still be called in the house, no one really knows what they may do.
 
HB2877 (VGT’s at tracks) is still alive, it is on 2nd reading in the house, it as well could be moved should they choose.
 
NEW BILL, A bit of good news. We were able to get the tracks and horsemen added to HB479, this bill would legalize internet gaming and fantasy sports in the State of Illinois. (as example you would be able to legally play any games of chance on your phone or computer). If this becomes law it could turn out to be a wonderful deal for us. We were added to this bill Tuesday evening, they began moving it yesterday, it moved through the entire process and it PASSED in the Senate by a vote of 42-10-1 yesterday evening. This bill is now in the House and may be called at anytime, THIS IS REALLY GOOD !!!
 
Stay tuned, more to come when we know.