Greyhound industry still breathing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill that would move millions of dollars used to subsidize greyhound racing at tracks in Nitro and Wheeling is stalled with just a few days left in the 60-day legislative session.

The House of Delegates Finance Committee put the Senate version of the billĀ  (SB 641) into a study resolution Tuesday morning but Senate Finance Committee Chair Mike Hall (R-Putnam) said that doesn’t necessarily mean the proposal is dead.

“We’re not done with this. We do have these bills in our possession and we do have a bill, if we get to an agreement on this, that we can put in that bill and get it out of here by Saturday night,” Hall said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

The Senate bill and House version (HB 4625) would take approximately $11 million used to help greyhound racing at Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island and move it to another part of the struggling state budget.

Existing state law requires the casinos to have live racing, the Senate bill removes that language along with the funding while the House bill keeps the requirement in without the money, according to Hall.

“I believe that if you don’t decouple then you create a problem where you’ve unfunded something that the tracks can no longer afford to do but you’re forcing them to do it,” Hall said, calling it a complicated issue where there is currently an impasse with the House.

Some opponents of the removing the funding have also expressed concern about the possibility of losing 1,700 greyhound racing-related jobs and as many as 4,000 dogs.





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