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Texas Racing Commission

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Texas Racing Act

Article 3. Powers and Duties of Commission

Sec. 3.01.
Repealed by Acts 1997, 75th Legislature, Ch. 1275, §54, eff. September 1, 1997.

Sec. 3.02. Regulation and Supervision.
  (a) The commission shall regulate and supervise every race meeting in this state involving wagering on the result of greyhound or horse racing. All persons and things relating to the operation of those meetings are subject to regulation and supervision by the commission. The commission shall adopt rules for conducting greyhound or horse racing in this state involving wagering and shall adopt other rules to administer this Act that are consistent with this Act. The commission shall also make rules, issue licenses, and take any other necessary action relating exclusively to horse racing or to greyhound racing.
  (b) The commission may establish separate sections to review or propose rules of the commission.
  (c) The commission or a section of the commission shall hold a meeting on any proposed rule before the commission publishes the proposed rule in the Texas Register.
  (d) The commission shall post notice of a meeting under Subsection (c) of this section at each racetrack facility. The notice shall include an agenda of the meeting and a summary of the proposed rule.
  (e) A copy of a proposed rule published in the Texas Register shall also be posted concurrently at each racetrack facility.
  (f) The commission or a section of the commission may appoint a committee of experts, members of the public, or other interested parties to advise the commission or section of the commission about a proposed rule of the commission.
  (g) The commission, in adopting rules and in the supervision and conduct of racing, shall consider the effect of a proposed commission action on the state's agricultural, horse breeding, horse training, greyhound breeding, and greyhound training industry.

Sec. 3.021. Regulation by Commission.
  (a) Any provision in this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the commission may license and regulate all aspects of greyhound racing and horse racing in this state, whether or not that racing involves pari-mutuel wagering.
  (b) To protect the health, safety, and welfare of race animals and participants in racing, to safeguard the interest of the general public, and to promote the orderly conduct of racing within the state, the commission may adopt rules for the licensing and regulation of races and workouts at racetracks that do not offer pari-mutuel wagering and for workouts at training facilities to secure past performances and workouts.
  (c) The commission may charge an annual fee for licensing and regulating a racetrack that does not offer pari-mutuel wagering or a training facility in a reasonable amount that may not exceed the actual cost of enforcing rules adopted for the licensing and regulation of races and workouts at such a facility.
  (d) The commission may not adopt rules restricting competitive bidding or advertising by a licensee except to prohibit false, misleading, or deceptive practices. In its rules to prohibit false, misleading, or deceptive practices, the commission may not include a rule that:
(1) restricts the use of any medium for advertising;
(2) restricts the use of a licensee's personal appearance or voice in an advertisement;
(3) relates to the size or duration of an advertisement by the licensee; or
(4) restricts the licensee's advertisement under a trade name.

Sec. 3.03. Power of Entry.
A member of the commission, an authorized agent of the commission, a commissioned officer of the Department of Public Safety, or a peace officer of the local jurisdiction in which the association maintains a place of business may enter any part of the racetrack facility or any other place of business of an association at any time for the purpose of enforcing and administering this Act.

Sec. 3.04. Requirement of Books and Records; Financial Statements.
The commission shall require associations, managers, totalisator licensees, and concessionaires to keep books and records and to submit financial statements to the commission. The commission shall adopt reasonable rules relating to those matters.

Sec. 3.05. Subpoena Power.
  (a) A member of the commission or a duly appointed agent of the commission, while involved in carrying out functions under this Act, may take testimony and may require by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, papers, correspondence, and other documents that the commission considers advisable. Subpoenas shall be issued under the signature of the commission or its duly appointed agent and shall be served by any person designated by the commission. A member of the commission, or a duly appointed agent of the commission, may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before the commission or its agents.
  (b) If a subpoena issued under this section is disobeyed, the commission or its duly appointed agent may invoke the aid of a Travis County district court in requiring compliance with the subpoena. A Travis County district court may issue an order requiring the person to appear and testify and to produce books, records, papers, correspondence, and documents. Failure to obey the order of the court shall be punished by the court as contempt.

Sec. 3.06. Certified Documents.
Instead of requiring an affidavit or other sworn statement in any application or other document required to be filed with the commission, the commission may require a certification of the document under penalty of perjury in the form the commission may prescribe.

Sec. 3.07. Officials of Race Meetings.
  (a) The commission shall employ all of the judges and all of the stewards for the supervision of a horse race or greyhound race meeting. Each horse race or greyhound race meeting shall be supervised by three stewards for horse racing or by three judges for greyhound racing. The commission shall designate one of the stewards or judges as the presiding steward or judge for each race meeting. The association, following the completion of the race meeting, may submit written comments to the commission regarding the job performance of the stewards and judges for the commission's review. Comments received are not binding, in any way, on the commission. For each race meeting, the commission shall employ at least one state veterinarian. The commission may, by rule, impose a fee on an association to offset the costs of compensating the stewards, judges, and state veterinarians. The amount of the fee for the compensation of stewards, judges, and state veterinarians must be reasonable according to industry standards for the compensation of those officials at other racetracks and may not exceed the actual cost to the commission for compensating the officials. All other racetrack officials shall be appointed by the association, with the approval of the commission. Compensation for those officials not compensated by the commission shall be determined by the association.
  (b) The commission shall make rules specifying the authority and the duties of each official, including the power of stewards or judges to impose penalties for unethical practices or violations of racing rules. A penalty imposed by the stewards or judges may include a fine of not more than $25,000, a suspension for not more than five years, or both a fine and suspension. Before imposing a penalty under this subsection, the stewards and judges shall conduct a hearing that is consistent with constitutional due process. A hearing conducted by a steward or judge under this subsection is not subject to Chapter 2001, Government Code. A decision of a steward or judge is subject to review by the executive director, who may modify the penalty. A penalty modified by the executive director under this section may include a fine not to exceed $100,000, a suspension not to exceed five years, or both a fine and a suspension. A decision of a steward or judge that is not reviewed or modified by the executive director is a final decision. Any decision of a steward or judge may be appealed under Section 3.08(a) of this Act regardless of whether the decision is modified by the executive director.
  (c) The commission shall require each steward or judge to take and pass both a written examination and a medical examination annually. The commission by rule shall prescribe the methods and procedures for taking the examinations and the standards for passing. Failure to pass an examination is a ground for refusal to issue an original or renewal license to a steward or judge or for suspension or revocation of such a license.
  (d) Medication or drug testing performed on a race animal under this Act shall be conducted by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory or by a laboratory operated by or in conjunction with or by a private or public agency selected by the commission after consultation with the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Medication or drug testing performed on a human under this Act shall be conducted by a laboratory approved by the commission. Charges for services performed under this section shall be forwarded to the commission for approval as to the reasonableness of the charges for the services. Charges may include but are not limited to expenses incurred for travel, lodging, testing, and processing of test results. The reasonable charges associated with medication or drug testing conducted under this Act shall be paid by the association that receives the services. The commission shall adopt rules for the procedures for approving and paying laboratory charges under this section. The commission shall determine whether the laboratory charges are reasonable, in relation to industry standards by periodically surveying the drug testing charges of comparable laboratories in the United States. The commission shall forward a copy of the charges to the association that receives the services for immediate payment.
  (e) To pay the charges associated with the medication or drug testing, an association may use the money held by the association to pay outstanding tickets and pari-mutuel vouchers. If additional amounts are needed to pay the charges, the association shall pay those additional amounts.
  (f) The association is responsible for the cost of approved charges for animal drug testing services under this section. The commission shall adopt rules to allocate responsibility for the costs of human drug testing of a licensee.
  (g) A steward or judge may exercise the supervisory authority granted the steward or judge under this Act or commission rule, including the performance of supervisory acts requiring the exercise of discretion, on any day.

Sec. 3.08. Appeal from Decision of Stewards or Judges.
  (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this section, a final decision of the stewards or judges may be appealed to the commission in the manner provided for a contested case under the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act (Article 6252-13a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).
  (b) A decision of the stewards or judges on a disqualification for a foul in a race or on a finding of fact regarding the running of a race is final and may not be appealed.

Sec. 3.09. Funding.
  (a) The comptroller shall deposit the state's share of each pari-mutuel pool from horse racing and greyhound racing in the General Revenue Fund.
  (b) The commission shall deposit the money it collects under this Act in the State Treasury to the credit of a special fund to be known as the Texas Racing Commission fund. The Texas Racing Commission fund may be appropriated only for the administration and enforcement of this Act. Any unappropriated money exceeding $750,000 that remains in the fund at the close of each fiscal biennium shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund and may be appropriated for any legal purpose. The legislature may also appropriate money from the General Revenue Fund for the administration and enforcement of this Act. Any amount of general revenue appropriated for the administration and enforcement of this Act in excess of the cumulative amount deposited in the Texas Racing Commission fund shall be reimbursed from the Texas Racing Commission fund not later than one year after the date on which the general revenue funds are appropriated, with 6¾ percent interest with all payments first attributable to interest.

Sec. 3.10. Annual Report.
The commission shall make a report to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of representatives not later than January 31 of each year. The report shall cover the operations of the commission and the condition of horse breeding and racing and greyhound breeding and racing during the previous year. The commission shall also obtain from the Department of Public Safety a comprehensive report of any organized crime activities in this state which the department may wish to report and information concerning any and all illegal gambling which may be known to exist in the state and shall include the report by the department in its report and shall include any recommendations it considers appropriate.

Sec. 3.11. Cooperation with Peace Officers.
The commission shall cooperate with all district attorneys, criminal district attorneys, county attorneys, the Department of Public Safety, the attorney general, and all peace officers in enforcing this Act. Under its authority to conduct criminal history information record checks under Section 5.04 of this Act, the commission shall maintain and exchange pertinent intelligence data with other states and agencies.

Sec. 3.12. Reporting of Violations.
The commission's rules shall allow anonymous reporting of violations of this Act or of rules adopted by the commission.

Sec. 3.13. Recognition of Organization.
  (a) The commission by rule shall adopt criteria to recognize an organization to represent members of a segment of the racing industry, including owners, breeders, trainers, kennel operators, or other persons involved in the racing industry, in any interaction between the members of the organization and an association or the commission.
  (b) The commission may recognize an organization that meets the requirements of Subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 3.14. Disciplinary Actions.
The commission shall revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a license, place on probation a person whose license has been suspended, or reprimand a licensee for a violation of this Act or a rule of the commission. If a license suspension is probated, the commission may require the licensee to report regularly to the commission on matters that are the basis of the probation.

Sec. 3.15. Hearing Requirements.
If the commission proposes to suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a person's license, the person is entitled to a hearing conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Proceedings for a disciplinary action, other than those conducted by racing stewards or judges, are governed by Chapter 2001, Government Code. Rules of practice adopted by the commission under Section 2001.004, Government Code, applicable to the proceedings for a disciplinary action, other than those conducted by racing stewards or judges, may not conflict with rules adopted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Sec. 3.16. Rules Relating to Unlawful Influences on Racing.
  (a) The commission shall adopt rules prohibiting a person from unlawfully influencing or affecting the outcome of a race, including rules relating to the use of a prohibited device or prohibited substance at a racetrack or training facility.
  (b) The commission shall require testing to determine whether a prohibited substance has been used. The testing may be prerace or postrace as determined by the commission. The testing may be by an invasive or noninvasive method. The commission's rules shall require state-of-the-art testing methods.
  (c) Following the discovery of a prohibited device or a return of a test showing the presence of a prohibited substance, a steward or judge may summarily suspend a person who has used or administered the prohibited device or prohibited substance until a hearing before the stewards and judges. The steward or judge may also disqualify an animal as provided by a commission rule adopted under this section.
  (d) Except as otherwise provided, a person may appeal a ruling of the stewards or judges to the commission. The commission may stay a suspension during the period the matter is before the commission.
  (e) The commission may require urine samples to be frozen for a period necessary to allow any follow-up testing to detect and identify a prohibited substance. Any other specimen shall be maintained for testing purposes in a manner required by commission rule.
  (f) If a test sample or specimen shows the presence of a prohibited substance, the entire sample, including any split portion remaining in the custody of the commission, shall be maintained until final disposition of the matter.
  (g) A licensee whose animal test shows the presence of a prohibited substance is entitled to have a split portion of the test sample or specimen tested at a testing facility authorized to perform drug testing under this Act and selected by the licensee. The commission shall adopt rules relating to split testing procedures.
  (h) The licensed trainer of an animal is:
(1) considered by law to be the absolute ensurer that no prohibited substance has been administered to the animal; and
(2) responsible for ensuring that no prohibited substance is administered to the animal.
  (i) The commission shall adopt rules relating to the drug testing of licensees.
  (j) A person who violates a rule adopted under this section may:
(1) have any license issued to the person by the commission revoked or suspended; or
(2) be barred for life or any other period from applying for or receiving a license issued by the commission or entering any portion of a racetrack facility.

Sec. 3.17. Security for Fees and Charges.
The commission may require an association to post security in an amount and form determined by the commission to adequately ensure the payment of any fees or charges due to the state or the commission relating to pari-mutuel racing, including charges for drug testing.

Sec. 3.18. Cease and Desist Order.
  (a) The executive secretary may issue a cease and desist order if the executive secretary reasonably believes an association or other licensee is engaging or is likely to engage in conduct that violates this Act or a commission rule.
  (b) On issuance of a cease and desist order, the executive secretary shall serve on the association or other licensee by personal delivery or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person's last known address, a proposed cease and desist order. The proposed order must state the specific acts or practices alleged to violate this Act or a commission rule. The proposed order must state its effective date. The effective date may not be before the 21st day after the date the proposed order is mailed or delivered. If the person against whom the proposed order is directed requests, in writing, a hearing before the effective date of the proposed order, the order is automatically stayed pending final adjudication of the order. Unless the person against whom the proposed order is directed requests, in writing, a hearing before the effective date of the proposed order, the order takes effect and is final and nonappealable as to that person.
  (c) On receiving a request for a hearing, the executive secretary shall serve notice of the time and place of the hearing by personal delivery or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. At a hearing, the commission has the burden of proof and must present evidence in support of the order. Each person against whom the order is directed may cross-examine and show cause why the order should not be issued.
  (d) After the hearing, the commission shall issue or decline to issue a cease and desist order. The proposed order may be modified as necessary to conform to the findings at the hearing. An order issued under this section is final for purposes of enforcement and appeal and shall require the person to immediately cease and desist from the conduct that violates this Act or a commission rule.
  (e) A person affected by a cease and desist order issued, affirmed, or modified after a hearing may file a petition for judicial review in a district court of Travis County under Chapter 2001, Government Code. A petition for judicial review does not stay or vacate the order unless the court, after hearing, specifically stays or vacates the order.

Sec. 3.19. Emergency Cease and Desist Order.
  (a) The executive secretary may issue an emergency cease and desist order if the executive secretary reasonably believes an association or other licensee is engaged in a continuing activity that violates this Act or a commission rule in a manner that threatens immediate and irreparable public harm.
  (b) After issuing an emergency cease and desist order, the executive secretary shall serve on the association or other licensee by personal delivery or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person's last known address, an order stating the specific charges and requiring the person immediately to cease and desist from the conduct that violates this Act or a commission rule. The order must contain a notice that a request for hearing may be filed under this section.
  (c) An association or other licensee that is the subject of an emergency cease and desist order may request a hearing. The request must be filed with the executive secretary not later than the 10th day after the date the order was received or delivered. A request for a hearing must be in writing and directed to the executive secretary and must state the grounds for the request to set aside or modify the order. Unless a person who is the subject of the emergency order requests a hearing in writing before the 11th day after the date the order is received or delivered, the emergency order is final and nonappealable as to that person.
  (d) On receiving a request for a hearing, the executive secretary shall serve notice of the time and place of the hearing by personal delivery or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The hearing must be held not later than the 10th day after the date the executive secretary receives the request for a hearing unless the parties agree to a later hearing date. At the hearing, the commission has the burden of proof and must present evidence in support of the order. The person requesting the hearing may cross-examine witnesses and show cause why the order should not be affirmed. Section 2003.021(b), Government Code, does not apply to hearings conducted under this section.
  (e) An emergency cease and desist order continues in effect unless the order is stayed by the executive secretary. The executive secretary may impose any condition before granting a stay of the order.
  (f) After the hearing, the executive secretary shall affirm, modify, or set aside in whole or part the emergency cease and desist order. An order affirming or modifying the emergency cease and desist order is final for purposes of enforcement and appeal.

Sec. 3.20. Violation of Final Cease and Desist Order.
  (a) If the executive secretary reasonably believes that a person has violated a final and enforceable cease and desist order, the executive secretary may:
(1) initiate administrative penalty proceedings under Article 15 of this Act;
(2) refer the matter to the attorney general for enforcement by injunction and any other available remedy; or
(3) pursue any other action, including suspension of the person's license, that the executive secretary considers appropriate.
  (b) If the attorney general prevails in an action brought under Subsection (a)(2) of this section, the attorney general is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees.

Sec. 3.21. Injunction.
The commission may institute an action in its own name to enjoin the violation of this Act. An action for an injunction is in addition to any other action, proceeding, or remedy authorized by law.

Sec. 3.22. Enforcement Regarding Horsemen's Account.
  (a) The commission, by rule, shall develop a system for monitoring the activities of managers and employees of an association relating to the horsemen's account. The monitoring system may include review of the financial operations of the association, including inspections of records at the association's offices, at any racetrack, or at any other place the association transacts business.
  (b) The executive secretary may issue an order prohibiting the association from making any transfer from a bank account held by the association for the conduct of its business under this Act, pending commission review of the records of the account, if the executive secretary reasonably believes that the association has failed to maintain the proper amount of money in the horsemen's account. The executive secretary shall provide in the order a procedure for the association to pay certain expenses necessary for the operation of the racetrack, subject to the executive secretary's approval. An order issued under this section may be made valid for a period not to exceed 14 days.
  (c) The executive secretary may issue an order requiring the appropriate transfers to or from the horsemen's account if, after reviewing the association's records of its bank accounts, the executive secretary determines there is an improper amount of money in the horsemen's account.

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Page updated: 10/19/15

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