Voters may get to decide fate of greyhound racing in 2018

Unrelated file photo. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – After five years of trying to ban greyhound racing in the state legislature, voters may soon get to decide the fate of thousands of dogs.

A panel of the Constitution Revision Commission Thursday agreed to put the ban before voters in 2018. Sponsor Tom Lee says the revision effort won’t face the same obstacles that have thwarted lawmakers.

“Well, the Legislature has different pressures than the Constitutional Revision Commission has. The Constitutional Revision Commission isn’t reliant upon special interest money to get reelected. They’re more free to vote their conscience and less encumbered by the deep pockets of some of these industries that have locked this bill down in the last few years.” said Lee.

The ban would phase racing out over a three-year period.

An estimated 8,000 dogs are currently being bred or racing in the state. There are greyhound racetracks in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

In a statement, Jack Cory from the Florida Greyhound Association said, “If this proposal were passed it would result in the largest expansion of gambling in Florida’s history. It would convert all of Florida’s dog tracks into mini-casinos, which was amended on to this very bad proposal.”

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