A bill being sponsored by State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith that would ban the use of steroids for racing greyhounds passed the Florida House on Thursday afternoon but there were some lawmakers who voted in opposition.
HB 743 would prohibit the use of anabolic steroids at any point in the Greyhounds career. Any licensees caught in violation of the law could lose their license and be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.
While the bill had broad bi-partisan support and Republican Alex Miller as a co-sponsor, there was still some debate opposing the legislation
“My concern is that we’re making an emotional argument and not a factual one” said Rick Roth, a Republican from Palm Beach, citing an underlying motive to ban dog racing altogether. “My concern is that we’re jumping off of the cliff too fast.”
Other opponents argue that steroids are given to female dogs in heat to simply keep male greyhounds away.
There was plenty of comment in favor of the legislation, including from Republican State Representative Randy Fine, who once worked at a track and said that the representatives from the industry that he spoke to were indifferent on the bill.
“You have to ask yourself that if the people who theoretically profit from dog racing aren’t opposing the bill and all the pro animal groups are supporting the bill, then what on earth is the compelling reason to oppose the bill?” he asked.
In closing Smith thanked the House Speaker for letting the facts drive the discussion on the legislation instead of partisan politics.
“We are debating this bill because committees in the Florida House agreed that this was the right thing to do.” said Smith citing earlier flawed attempts on the issue “Our job as legislators is to course correct and give them the direction that they need.”
The bill passed with 84 votes in favor and 32 votes in opposition. Bipartisan companion legislation is also moving through the State Senate.