Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Labor & Workforce Development Committee

HB 1469

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Addressing industrial insurance for horse racing employment.

Sponsors: Representatives Schmick, Sells, Reykdal, Fagan, Green, Condotta, Short, Ormsby and Van De Wege; by request of Department of Labor & Industries.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Removes the requirement that workers' compensation premiums for employees in the horse racing industry be computed on a per license basis and assessed at the time the license is issued or renewed.

  • Allows the Department of Labor and Industries and the Washington Horse Racing Commission to develop rules regarding the calculation and assessment for horse racing employees.

Hearing Date: 2/6/13

Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).


The Washington Horse Racing Commission (WHRC) regulates the horse racing industry and licenses participants in the industry. Some of the participants requiring licenses include trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, exercise riders, and pony riders. The WHRC also collects workers' compensation premiums assessed by the Department of Labor and Industries (Department).

Premiums are collected from owners and trainers, and assessments are not experience rated. Trainers must pay the premium assessment for each person in their employ, and the premium rate depends upon the type of licenses the trainer's employees have (i.e., groom, assistant trainer, exercise rider). Premiums owed by trainers also vary depending on the type of race track where the trainer is licensed (i.e., major tracks and minor tracks). Premiums must be collected at the time the license is issued or renewed.

In 2012 the WHRC, the Washington Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, and the Department worked together to discuss new rules for risk classifications for certain horse racing employees and changes to how premiums would be assessed and collected. The WHRC has since adopted new rules, which took effect in December 2012.

Summary of Bill:

The requirement that premiums be computed on a per license basis and collected at the time the license is issued or renewed is removed. Instead, rates will be established by rules adopted by the Department and the WHRC. Premiums may vary according to the risk insured, as determined by rule, rather than based on the differences in working conditions at different tracks.

References to "hotwalker," a term that is no longer used, are removed.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.