Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
House Passes Bill for Jockey Workers' Compensation

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 24, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Mark York

Governor Fletcher says it’s needed to keep Kentucky ‘Horse Capital of the World’

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky House voted 83-12 today to pass legislation to provide workers’ compensation coverage to jockeys in Kentucky, a move quickly acclaimed by Governor Ernie Fletcher.

“If Kentucky is to remain known as the Horse Capital of the World, then we should provide workers’ compensation coverage for the jockeys who participate in this thrilling but sometimes dangerous sport,” Governor Fletcher said.

Senate Bill 191, as amended by the House, would create the Kentucky Jockey Injury Fund. It would be financed through a takeout of one-tenth of 1 percent of total wagering on Kentucky races.

The bill also would create the Kentucky Jockey Injury Corp. (KJIC) with a nine-member board of directors responsible for purchasing workers’ compensation insurance for licensed jockeys and apprentice jockeys.

Representative Carolyn Belcher (D-Owingsville), who guided the legislation through the House, said Kentucky would be following the lead of five other racing states in creating a program for jockeys.

“The jockeys would be considered employees of the injury corporation for coverage purposes,” Belcher told House members. “The jockeys will be required to undergo an annual physical examination, paid for by the fund, to identify any preexisting conditions.”

Trainers would be required to purchase coverage for exercise riders. The bill now goes back to the Senate for a concurrence vote on House amendments.