Kurk Amendment, Deceptions and Pari-Mutual Racing

To Chairman Smith, Reps, Senators, Media

From: Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hills 15

Monday, June 22, 11:25 a.m.

 

I left a message on your answering machine Friday and have yet to hear from you.

 

I'm still waiting for an answeras to whether Senator Maggie Hassan (at approximately 8:15 p.m. Thursday night, at which time both Neil Kurk and I were in Goffstown for an essential Hillsborough County budget matter), either deliberately or out ofignorance, deceived the conference committee by stating that the Kurk amendment on making tracks pay the full cost of regulation could not be done because the tracks have already lined up racing slates this summer. As I would hope you knew at the time,Neal and your Finance Committee division one were very careful to take that argument into account, and the House plan specifically excluded this year for that reason. If I can't get an answer from you (as the person who was defending the House position on that issue), I hope to get a chance to listen to it on streaming audio before I am afforded the opportunity to question you on the floor Wednesday (fair us fair; this is a heads-up). So far, I have three sources who all say Senator Hassan did in fact make such an argument. If so, I'm not sure whether deliberate deceit or simple ignorance would be a more acceptable answer. Either way, it is an outrage that must not go unanswered.

 

I also have a question regarding whether or not, despite the Kurk amendment being removed, monies are in House Bill 1 for regulation. As I understand it, the House version of pari-mutual funding was approved. Thus, even though the Kurk amendment was removed from House Bill 2, the funding was also not present in House Bill 1. Thus, without the monies to regulate dog and horse racing in 2010 (not 2009!), what would the racing commission do? Could they get the monies added back in without any of us knowing? Could they go to Fiscal Committee? Would they have to introduce a new bill. Having seen gay marriage passed, I now view ending this cruel business of dog racing (especially because it costs the state about half a million dollars a year to do something virtually no one wants) as my top legislative priority. Thus, answers to these questions are of extreme importance to me prior to Wednesday's vote. Thank you for your attention to this.