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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

CHRB RECONSIDERS MANDATED LICENSING OF RACING MEDIA; FIRST AMENDMENT STATUS QUO

Saratoga Springs, NY, August 10, 2022This is a copy of an email sent by National Turf Writers and Broadcasters President Tom Law to its membership today acknowledging a justified Constitutional victory.

“Dear NTWAB members:

Good evening. I wanted to share some news and thank our colleagues in and out of the racing media world for their efforts over the last week. We also appreciate the CHRB giving consideration to the concerns of our members and the media in making their decision to not go ahead with a plan to require members of the media to obtain a license. We look forward to covering California racing as we have for decades and working with the tracks and regulators on a professional level going forward. 

Thank you!

Tom Law

NTWAB President”

***

Saratoga Springs, NY, Aug. 9, 2022 — We discovered this in our inbox upon arriving home this evening. The following is a statement addressed to Scott Cheney, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, by Tom Law, President of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters…

Dear NTWAB members,

On Monday, August 8th, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) released a statement regarding licensure for media access to the stable areas at CHRB administered racetracks. Today, NTWAB President Tom Law submitted the following to Scott Chaney, executive director, and the members of the CHRB:

Mr. Scott Chaney:

The National Turf Writers And Broadcasters vehemently opposes the Aug. 8, 2022 decision by the California Horse Racing Board to “require all individuals who enter the stable areas, including members of the news media, to obtain a CHRB license.”

Professional members of the news media do not fall under the California Code of Regulations 2022 Rules and Regulations Title 4, Division 4, Article 4 (Occupational Licenses), Rule 1481. Members of the news media are acting independently and not in the involvement of operation of a racetrack and/or care of racehorses.

Members of the news media, for decades, have been granted access to racetracks across the country through publicity departments and the Turf Publicists of America to conduct business without a license and/or required to pay a fee to do their jobs.

The requirement by the CHRB for members of the news media to purchase a license sets an unnecessary and bad precedent for the racing industry besides the First Amendment implications of government licensing the free press. If media members needed to be licensed, the same logic could be twisted to say the CHRB then could discipline media members as well.

The NTWAB Board of Directors and its members strongly encourage the CHRB to reverse this decision and allow the news media to continue to operate independently and after the approval of racetrack management.

Sincerely,

Tom Law

President, National Turf Writers And Broadcasters

The original statement from the CHRB:

REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCESS TO STABLE AREA

The California Horse Racing Board requires all individuals who enter the stable areas, including members of the news media, to obtain a CHRB license. Those who request infrequent access to the stable area will not need a license but must be signed in as a guest by the host racetrack. Non-CHRB media credentials are not sufficient for entry to the restricted stable area.

Historically, all news media have been screened and approved by each track’s publicity department. Those with legitimate business have been granted access to stable areas. This practice will continue for those who infrequently need access to stable areas. But those with a more regular presence in stable areas will need to acquire a CHRB “Z” (Other) license from one of the CHRB licensing offices. The fee for a Z license is $75, and depending on the applicant’s birth date, the license is good for two-to-three years. All applicants must be fingerprinted and are checked for California and nationwide criminal history. Individuals have until August 31 to come into compliance.

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4 Responses

  1. I’m usually against fees which many times are rip offs like how many millions ,if not billions,banks make on those miniscule fees in small print and besides that the writers input on celebrity owners,trainers and jocks create interest from their stories and angle which are worth more that the $ 75 for two or more years,But the question is Who is greedier of the two sides ? Which reminds me that NJ charged me an ‘ administrative fee’ of $ 50,yes,Fifty Bucks, for a $ 2 toll booth fee while i was driving overtired in the small hours of the night around Newark Airport. Delaware does the same with a $ 30 ‘Administrative Fee’. Next time I ll take the Chinese bus… What’s next,licensing public handicappers ?….and Why not ,my broker is licensed !!!

  2. A hotdog by any other name…
    Imagine for a moment that this issue isn’t money at all. It’s about free speech and Freedom of the Press. It’s a way to restrict access and thus control the narrative.
    Gaining credentials is generally a lengthy process, questionnaires, letterheads, sports editor approval and requests, etc., etc., and that’s as it should be. Reporters need to respect the horsemen and the animals.
    But never to pay for a task guaranteed as a right by the Constitution, then who knows? Not everyone plays by the rules, do they?

  3. “$50 Tube Steaks”.

    I support the rights of the players and journalists. How else we would ever be kept informed?

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