An Act To Protect the Future of Harness Racing
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, this legislation needs to take effect before the expiration of the 90-day period to provide funding as soon as possible to ensure the continuation of racing if a commercial track closes; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 8 MRSA §267-A, sub-§2, ¶¶B and C, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 539, Pt. G, §6 and affected by §15, are amended to read:
Sec. 2. 8 MRSA §267-A, sub-§2, ¶D is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 8 MRSA §299, sub-§3 is enacted to read:
For the purposes of this subsection, "region" is determined by measuring a distance of 50 miles from the center of the racing track along the most commonly used roadway, as determined by the Department of Transportation, drawing a circle around the center of the racing track using that 50-mile measurement and excluding those municipalities or unorganized territories that do not have boundaries contained entirely by that circle.
Sec. 4. 8 MRSA §1036, sub-§2, ¶H, as amended by PL 2011, c. 358, §4, is further amended to read:
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill removes the provision of law that terminates certain payments of net slot machine income to the Fund to Encourage Racing at Maine's Commercial Tracks when all commercial tracks have obtained a license to operate slot machines. It also provides that if a commercial track ceases operation and is not immediately replaced by a commercial track in the same region that is owned by the same owner as the commercial track that ceased operation, all amounts in the fund must be disbursed to the remaining commercial tracks and to agricultural fairs based on days raced during extended meets up to a maximum of 100 days raced during extended meets per year and until such time as a new commercial track begins operation.
A commercial track or agricultural fair receives a payment per race day equal to the quotient of the amount in the fund divided by 150. Any amount remaining in the fund after payments are made to commercial tracks and agricultural fairs must be transferred to the operating account of the Harness Racing Commission.