NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 15, 2013

Greyhound racing bill defeated in NH House

A bill that might have cost scores of jobs at Seabrook Greyhound Park went down in defeat in the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon, but not before Seabrook’s freshman state representative and selectman, Aboul Khan, had his first chance to speak on the floor of the Statehouse.

New Hampshire House Bill 564 would have prevented the Seabrook Park from simulcasting dog races originating in any jurisdiction that doesn’t make available to the public the injury records of racing greyhounds.

Seabrook Park President Karen Keeland told Seabrook Board of Selectman in early February that she’d probably have to shut down the venue if the bill passed, which could result in the loss of more than 100 full- and part-time jobs.

Given the possible job loss and the more than $250,000 the track contributes to town coffers every year, the Board of Selectmen and all of Seabrook’s House representatives worked hard to ensure the bill would not get out of the House alive.

All of them testified against the bill at its hearing before the Ways and Means Committee, which rejected it with a vote of “inexpedient to legislate.”

On the House floor, however, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, spoke in favor of the bill, trying to reverse its fate.

But those fighting for its defeat went to Khan, suggesting he take to the House podium and speak against the bill.

“I was nervous because I have not spoken in a House session before,” Khan said. “But I prepared and got up and spoke against the bill to save those jobs.”

Khan must have made his point, for the majority of his fellow House members agreed with him, and the bill died. But after he got back to his seat, Khan got a pleasant surprise.

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