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No significant impact to the State or local governments is expected.
This bill is substantively
the same as when we reported on it in its original chamber. We continue to oppose SB 917.
Rep. Ken King is the House sponsor.
First chamber analysis below:
SB 917 seeks to apply the provisions of the Texas Mass Gatherings Act to a horse or greyhound race that attracts at least 100 people. This bill does not apply to locations falling under the Texas Racing Act nor does it legalize any activity prohibited under the Penal Code or state law.
SB 917 would force private race tracks in rural unincorporated areas to obtain a Texas Mass Gatherings permit if they expected more than 100 persons to attend. The permit must be filed at least 45 days in advance of the race, requires an inspection by the fire Marshall, sheriff, and health authority of the county, and a hearing before a county judge at least 10 days before the race. Inspection fees must be paid and failing to obtain a permit can result in a misdemeanor and up to a $1000 fine and 90 days in county jail.
No amendments or modifications have been made to the bill since we reported on it.
First chamber recommendation:
Currently, for any event held outside of a municipality that is expected to be attended by 2,500 or more people, or by 500 or more people if a majority of the attendees are under 21 years of age and there will be alcohol sold or consumed. This legislation would reduce to 100 the attendance threshold for which a mass gatherings permit would be required at a private horse or greyhound race track.
SB 917 would allow county governments to inspect and investigate private land used for horse or greyhound races while charging fees and holding the threat of criminal penalties over the head of private track owners for not complying. SB 917 expands the code with unnecessary government bureaucracy which infringes on our private property rights, free markets, individual liberty and limited government principles. We oppose this legislation due to these infringements.