Sachs puts the brakes on greyhound racing de-coupling as hearing 'melts down'
The effort to reduce greyhound racing in Florida hit the skids Tuesday as the sponsor of the amendment was forced to withdraw it when it appeared she didn't have the votes.
Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, withdraw the measure as worries about election year politics, the looming uncertainty of a gaming compact and the annual jealousies of the bitterly competitive gaming industry overshadowed the debate.
"It was as melt-down,'' said Sen. Tom Lee, R-Tampa, after the meeting. He argued aggressively that the animals lovers in the packed committee room were "being used" by the profiteers in the racing industry to pass a bill being push for economic, not humane, reasons.
The Senate Gaming Committee passed the bill to require dog tracks to report injuries, however. But Sachs said she needed to work out some kinks in her bill when others believed it was designed to provide a secret channel for Genting to move into Miami, for dog tracks with dormant permits to be revived, etc.
Sachs' effort came with some subtle but high-level pressure. As the committee debated her bill, Senate President Don Gaetz arrived in the room and pulled senators aside. His son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a sponsor of the measure in the House, sat in the audience as did Gaetz's wife, Vicky, an animal lover.
Sachs said she will work on another version in an attempt to push it through.