Proposed legislation aims to end Iowa greyhound racing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proposed legislation aims to end Iowa greyhound racing

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The effort to end greyhound racing in Iowa is making its way through the Legislature.

Proposed legislation would phase out dog racing over the course of several years.

Iowa's two remaining dog tracks -- Mystique Casino in Dubuque and Bluffs Run in Council Bluffs -- would pay a combined settlement of $70 million to greyhound breeders. $15 million would come from Mystique, which operates as a non-profit organization owned by the city of Dubuque, and the remaining $55 million would come from Harrah's, the private company that owns Bluffs Run.

Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, is chair of the State Government Committee, which is the committee in the Iowa Senate through which the bill must pass. A committee in the Iowa House is also looking at the proposed greyhound legislation.

The bill in both the House and Senate committees came from the casinos.

Additionally, however, Danielson said the Senate committee will look at a second bill, drafted by the Iowa Greyhound Association, which represents greyhound breeders. That bill is similar to the casinos' bill, but it also includes a provision that would allow greyhound racing to exist in Iowa, independently from any casino.

Danielson calls that "a middle point" between completely eliminating greyhound racing in Iowa and the current situation, where the casinos are legally required to supplement dog racing.

If any form of the legislation passed, Danielson stressed, it would most certainly entail a multi-year phasing-out of greyhound racing. Doing it in any shorter amount of time would "be irresponsible," Danielson said.

"You have current dogs in gestation, dogs in training, dogs running," Danielson said.

The bill must get out of either or both committee by the end of next week or the issue is dead for the session, Danielson said.

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